Skip to main content

Full text of "War bread : a personal narrative of the war and relief in Belgium"

See other formats








American  Delegate  of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgiu 
in  charge  of  the  Province  of  Antwerp 

(With  Illustrations} 



COPYRIGHT,  1916, 


Published  November,  1916 

RAHWAY.  N.  J. 


Zyne  Eminentie 

Aartsbisschop  van  Mechelen 


Gemeenteraadslidy  Schepen,  en  Nolksvertegenwoordiger, 

Foorzitter  van  het  Nationaal  Komiteit  voor 

Hulp  en  Feeding  der  Provincie 



.^  Foorzitter  van  het  Nationaal  Komiteit  voor 
Hulf  en  Feeding  der  Provincie  Antwerpen 

HERBERT  CLARK  HOOVER,  of  California 

Chairman  of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium 

and  to 

BENNETT  H.  BRANS  CO  MB,  of  Alabama 

OLIVER  C.  CARMICHAEL,  of  Alabama 

RICHARD  H.  SIMPSON,  of  Indiana 

W.  W.  FLINT,  of  New  Hampshire 

W.  W.  STRATTON,  of  Utah 

THOMAS  O.  CONNETT,  of  New  York 

GARDNER  RICHARDSON,  of  Connecticut 

GILCHRIST  H.  STOCKTON,  of  Florida 

J.  B.  VAN  SCHAICK,  of  New  York 

Loyal  friends,  Americans  ally  fellow-members  of  the 
Antwerp  delegation  of  the  Commission  for 
Relief  in  Belgium 

Thanks  are  due  the  Metropolitan  Magazine,  the  Out- 
look, Leslie's  Weekly,  the  New  Republic,  and  Collier's 
Weekly  for  permission  to  republish  portions  of  this  book 
which  have  appeared  in  their  pages. 




Off  to  the  Wars ! 

Mutiny 4 

Captured  at  Sea .      .  13 

Floating  Mines 19 

Interned 23 

A  Night  on  Devil's  Island 27 


Osnabriick  to  Berlin 34 

Prussia  Enthroned 38 

How  the  Poor  Fared 44 

War  Worship 50 

German    "  Preparedness " 53 

Three  Famous  Socialists 59 

The   Attack 67 


Berlin  Versus  Antwerp 71 

An  American  Spy 74 

England  Aids  Belgium 78 

War  Correspondents .82 

The  Bombardment  of  Antwerp 87 

What  a  Shrapnel  Shell  Did Qi 

A  Bath  and  a  Forced  March 95 

Blowing  up  the  Bridge     .       .       .              .       •       •  100 

Enter:  the  Germans IO4 

The  Army  of  Occupation .107 

First  Aid  to  Antwerp "0 




On  the  Road  to  Holland 114 

Vluchtelingen       .        ........  118 

At  the  Frontier 121 

Dutch  Hospitality 127 

Atrocities 133 

Relief  Work  in  Holland 138 

Cities  of  Refuge 144 

A  Story  of  King  Albert 148 


Antwerp  Again 152 

The  Conquerors 156 

Humorous  Herr  Baedeker 162 

German  Government 169 


The  Catastrophe 175 

The  Cry  for  Help 180 

Brand  Whitlock 185 

Herbert  C.  Hoover 191 

The  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium   .       .       .  198 

A  Dead  City 202 

American  Delegate  for  Antwerp 206 

Misery  in  the  Campine 210 

Communications 216 

A  Visit  from  Hoover       . 220 

The  Christmas  Ship  .       .       .       .       .       .       .       .224 

Belgian   Gratitude .  228 

Cardinal  Mercier's  Pastoral  Letter      .       .       .       .235 

Patriotic  Clocks 241 

Alarums  and  Excursions 245 

Internal   Conflicts 251 

The  Waesland 255 

A  Belgian  Co-operative 258 

Breathing  Spells 262 




A  Great  Financier 269 

Hard  Cash 273 


Their   Daily  Bread 280 

Joyous   Entries 286 

Bread  Lines  and  Soup  Kitchens 293 

Health,  Clothing,  and  Housing 296 

Unemployment 304 


Hauling  Down  the  Flag 308 

Great  Britain  Takes  a  Hand 311 

Feeding  the  North  of  France  ......  315 


The  Golden  Legend 318 

La  Belle  Belgique       .       ., 322 


I.    Three  Famous  Socialists 327 

II.    Press  and  Post 331 

III.  Public  Charity  and  Exchange 333 

IV.  Incredibly  Small  Expenses   .       .       .       .       .       .  334 

V.    Gifts  of  Service .335 

VI.    The  First  Supplies 335 

VII.    Early  Food  Shipments 336 

VIII.    Flemish 337 

IX.    The   Poor .338 

X.    Belgian  Committees 339 

XI.    The  Millers'  Belgian  Relief  Movement  .       .      .341 

XII.    The   Priest 341 

XIII.  Ante-Bellum  Belgium 342 

XIV.  The  Artistic  Temperament 342 

XV.    First  Aid                                               ....  343 



XVI.  Bar-le-Duc          344 

XVII.  Interlocking  Organizations 345 

XVIII.  Food  Requirements 345 

XIX.  Coffee 347 

XX.  A  Co-operative  Society  .       .       .       .       .       .       -347 

XXI.  The  National   Relief   Committee*       .       .       .       .348 

XXII.  The  Contribution  of  War 349 

XXIII.  Finance 349 

XXIV.  Wheat  and   Flour    .       .       .       ...       .       .351 

XXV.  Distribution 352 

XXVI.  Soup  Recipes 353 

XXVII.  Selling  Gift  Goods  . 354 

XXVIII.  "  American  Shops " 356 

XXIX.  The  Clothing  Workshop 357 

XXX.  Temporary  Houses 359 

XXXI.  Unemployment  Relief V.  361 

XXXII.  Bricks  and  Laces 362 

XXXIII.  The  Crop  Commission 365 

XXXIV.  Belgian  Harvests 366 

XXXV.  The  North  of  France 367 

XXXVI.  French  Financial  Organization  .       .       .       .       .  368 

XXXVII.  Funding  the  Relief  Work 37<> 

XXXVIII.  Governmental  Subsidies 372 

XXXIX.  Belgian  Gratitude 372 


WAR  BREAD Frontispiece 




"  BEATING  THE  CAMERA  "                                   94 





Louis  FRANCK 206 


CHRISTMAS,  1914 228 



JULY  FOURTH,  1915 278 




ANTWERP'S  CLOTHING  WORKSHOP             •  358 




THE  Holland-America  liner  "  Nieuw  Amsterdam  "  lay 
fuming  at  her  Hoboken  pier.  It  was  midnight,  August 
24-25,  the  first  month  of  the  war.  The  air  was  heavy, 
like  hot  oil ;  pier  lights  scorched  the  dark  with  their  elec- 
trical glare;  and  the  ship's  funnel  spat  smoke  into  the 
starless  vault  overhead. 

Gangways  vomited  stewards  and  hastily  swallowed 
them  again,  for  we  were  sailing  in  less  than  an  hour. 
My  trunks  were  lined  with  cartons  of  condensed  soups, 
egg  powder,  and  Erbsenwurst,  for  reports  on  European 
food  conditions  were  already  alarming;  the  money-belt 
about  my  waist  was  uncomfortably  heavy  with  British 
and  American  gold-pieces,  for  the  newspapers  said 
there  was  no  reliable  exchange  abroad ;  my  pockets  were 
full  of  important  letters,  passports,  and  a  bulky  life  in- 
surance policy.  The  times  were  inauspicious  for  travel. 
Yet  the  ship  appeared  to  be  full.  Everywhere  were 


strange  faces.  Heavy  featured,  gruff  voiced  men,  nine- 
teen to  forty  years  old,  with  thick  silver  watch-chains 
looped  across  their  waistcoats  and  little  sausage-roll 
satchels  in  their  hands,  streamed  into  the  ship  and  shouted 
good-bys  to  the  crowds  of  friends  who  lined  the  pier. 

"  Who  are  they,  steward?  "  I  asked. 

"  German  reservists,  sir." 

"  But  I  thought  the  ship  would  be  empty." 

"  Nearly  a  thousand  of  them,  sir." 

In  the  steerage  twenty  or  thirty  men  strolled  aim- 
lessly up  deck  and  down,  droning,  with  impartial  en- 
thusiam  and  tunelessness,  "  The  Watch  on  the  Rhine," 
"  Hail,  Kaiser,  to  Thee,"  and  a  song  from  the  latest 
musical  comedy  on  Broadway.  The  night  grew  more 
and  more  electric,  and  half  an  hour  before  sailing  time 
the  tension  suddenly  snapped  like  cord.  A  steerage 
passenger  with  hair  clipped  convict-close  and  face  fiery 
red,  shirtless  and  hatless,  reeled  slowly  down  deck,  sing- 
ing. Others  followed  him  unsteadily,  and  at  the  end  of 
the  song  they  leaned  together,  arms  linked,  and  he  led 
them  in  three  "hochs"  for  the  Kaiser.  Passengers 
from  the  first  and  second  cabins  cheered.  The  mob  of 
friends  ashore  in  the  glare  of  the  pier  lights  waved 
handkerchiefs  and  shouted  applause. 

There  was  a  sudden  stir  beside  me.  On  the  promenade 
deck  a  huge  reservist,  his  cheeks  slashed  with  the  rapier 
scars  of  his  German  student  corps  days,  bellowed  a  rip- 


ping  "hurrrrrrrrrrrrah!"  and  instantly,  as  if  a  military 
command  had  been  given  and  an  army  had  obeyed,  the 
masses  of  men  fell  into  triple  lines  across  the  decks,  fac- 
ing the  pier,  and  began  to  sing  "The  Watch  on  the 
Rhine."  They  roared  and  rumbled  and  trampled  the 
music  out,  so  that  it  beat  in  a  steady  series  of  explosions 
against  the  high  walls  of  the  pier.  If  Krupp  guns  could 
sing  they  would  sing  like  that.  There  was  more  menace 
in  the  music  than  in  any  I  had  heard  before.  It  ex- 
pressed no  wild,  universal  human  longing,  such  as  one 
feels  in  the  chant  in  the  "  Marseillaise  " ;  it  seemed  part 
of  the  vast,  age-long,  irresistible  march  of  the  Teutonic 

They  sang  Deutschland  ilber  alles.  Volleys  of  voices 
beat  my  ears  with  a  shock  like  battle.  The  singers,  I 
learned  afterward,  had  come  from  Alaska,  Canada,  the 
United  States,  Mexico,  Brazil,  the  Saskatchewan,  but 
they  sang  as  if  they  had  been  drilled  to  sing  together 
since  childhood.  Then  came  "  Hail,  Kaiser,  to  Thee  " ; 
then  the  Austrian  National  Hymn ;  then  the  old  Swabian 
folk-song,  Muss  i  denn,  muss  i  denn  zum  Stadtele  hinaus, 
the  farewell  which  German  soldiers  have  sung  for  cen- 
turies to  their  sweethearts  when  they  go  to  the  wars. 

And  there  were  sweethearts  at  hand;  the  pier  was 
lined  with  them,  waving  their  handkerchiefs  and  cheer- 
ing at  every  pause  in  the  singing.  There  were  mothers 
and  wives  and  brothers  and  sisters  and  friends,  all  there 
on  the  pier,  three  or  four  yards  away,  packed  against  the 


rail  and  plainly  visible  in  the  white  electric  glare.  But 
while  the  men  sang  there  were  no  tears,  and  when  the 
singing  stopped  there  were  no  tears,  and  when  at  one 
o'clock  the  ship  began  slowly  to  move  out  into  the  black 
river  and  the  cheering  rose  to  salvoes  of  enthusiasm,  un- 
til the  Captain  had  to  blow  his  whistle  to  drown  the 
partisan  noise,  still  there  were  no  tears.  The  grief  of 
parting  hid  itself  under  a  stern  and  pitiless  joy  at  being 
able  to  share  in  Germany's  war.  The  men  were  off  to 
win  personal  glory,  but  far  more  than  that  they  were  to 
win  national  glory;  glory  for  Germany,  for  German 
might,  German  efficiency,  German  organization,  German 
intelligence,  German  capacity  for  taking  pains — for 
"  Germany  first/'  Deutschland  iiber  dies. 

The  passengers  on  the  "  Nieuw  Amsterdam  "  did  not 
trouble  to  think  that  America  was  a  neutral  country; 
that  the  ship  on  which  they  sailed  was  a  neutral  ship. 
They  did  not  trouble  to  think  what  a  scandalized  New 
York  City  press  and  public  would  say  of  them  next 
morning.  They  were  off  to  the  wars  at  last.  They  cared 
for  one  thing — for  Deutschland  iiber  alles,  over  neutral 
ships  and  neutral  nations,  neutral  thoughts  and  neutral 
silence,  too;  for  they  were  going  home  to  the  wars. 


"  It  can't  be;  it  can't  be,  I  tell  you! " 
A  group  of   reservists  pounded  the   ship's  bulletin- 
board  with  their  fists  and  yelled  in  fear  and  hate.    Others 


clawed  at  them,  struggling  and  swaying  to  and  fro  in  an 
effort  to  read  something  newly  written  on  a  square  sheet 
of  white  paper,  posted  under  the  heading  "  Marconi- 
grams."  The  day's  war  news,  picked  up  by  wireless  and 
posted  at  noontime,  was  already  old.  A  sketchy  war 
map  pinned  to  the  bulletin-board  by  Dr.  Hendrik  Wil- 
lem  van  Loon  showed  the  victorious  German  armies 
sweeping  like  a  sickle  through  France  toward  Paris. 
Louvain  was  burning.  Belgium  was  overrun.  Lille  had 
fallen.  Cossacks  were  in  East  Prussia. 

But  a  more  sensational  message  had  arrived.  Men 
came  running  from  up  and  down  the  saloon  stairs  and 
fought  those  ahead  of  them  to  read  it. 

"What  had  happened?"  they  demanded  breathlessly. 

"What  is  it?" 

"Bad  news?" 

"The  English?" 

"  Is  it  the  damned  English?  " 

"  Are  we  going  to  be  captured  ?  Are  we  going  to  be 
captured  ? " 

We  had  been  seven  days  at  sea.  The  "  Nieuw  Am- 
sterdam "  was  more  like  a  military  transport  than  a  neu- 
tral liner.  Of  her  thousand  passengers  only  seventy- 
five  were  women ;  two  hundred  Dutch  reservists  were  in 
the  steerage — they  were  wanted  at  home  to  keep  Hol- 
land out  of  the  war — and  more  than  seven  hundred  and 
fifty  German  and  Austrian  citizens  of  military  age  were 


scattered  throughout  the  ship.  There  was  a  Prussian 
staff  officer  in  the  steerage;  a  nephew  of  Count  von 
Bernstorff,  German  Ambassador  to  Washington,  was  in 
the  second  cabin;  there  were  privates  in  the  first  cabin, 
and  one  and  all  they  tramped  the  sanded  decks  from 
morning  till  night  like  infantry  on  the  march.  They 
cultivated  bristling  mustaches,  and  the  ship's  barber 
grew  rich  clipping  their  hair. 

Arid  always  they  talked  of  the  war.  They  knew  to 
the  slightest  detail  the  organization  of  their  armies,  the 
number  of  corps,  and  the  broad  strategy  of  the  war. 
War  to  them  was  a  science,  not  a  thing  of  horror.  War 
was  to  recreate  Europe.  War  was  an  incident  in  na- 
tional life ;  a  step  on  a  long  road,  deliberately  planned  for, 
deliberately  entered  upon,  the  end  of  it  long  foreseen. 
Let  the  nations  fight:  Germany  would  conquer.  In  the 
end  Germany  must  dominate  Europe,  and  confer  upon 
it  German  order,  German  system,  German  efficiency. 

Things  like  Belgian  neutrality  were  unimportant  when 
the  evolution  of  the  German  Empire  was  at  stake. 

But  after  the  first  wild  burst  of  enthusiasm,  the 
reservists  grew  anxious.  Fear,  laboriously  held  in  check, 
lurked  always  beneath  the  surface  of  their  thoughts. 
Every  smudge  of  smoke  on  the  horizon  suggested  a  pur- 
suing British  cruiser.  The  thought  of  England  became 
a  nightmare.  Every  league  nearer  the  English  coast 
made  England  bulk  larger  in  their  imaginations,  and  they 



talked  less  and  less  of  Germany  and  more  and  more  of 
England.  The  steerage  passengers  lay  all  day  like 
sleepy,  watchful  cats,  stretched  out  on  slack  gray  can- 
vases covering  the  life-boats,  and  studied  the  pitiless  open 
sea.  First  cabin  passengers  promenaded  the  hurricane 
deck  and  swept  the  waters  with  glasses  or  demanded 
news  at  the  door  of  the  Marconi  room.  Rumors  flew 
from  mouth  to  mouth,  and  fear  and  hatred  throve. 

Thick  fog  came  with  the  seventh  day  at  sea,  and  the 
spirits  of  the  reservists  rose  again.  "  It  will  probably 
hold  until  we  reach  Rotterdam,"  they  said.  "  But  the 
British  won't  dare  to  touch  us,  even  if  they  stop  us. 
This  is  a  neutral  ship.  The  Germans  will  be  in  Calais 
by  the  time  we  reach  the  English  Channel.  We'll  put 
a  pistol  to  the  Captain's  head  and  make  him  take  us  in- 
side the  three-mile  limit  and  land  us  right  with  the  Ger- 
man army ! " 

But  Captain  Baron  of  the  "  Nieuw  Amsterdam  "  now 
turned  the  tables  on  his  passengers.  On  the  bulletin- 
board  was  a  short  and  ominous  message  from  the  cap- 
tain of  our  sister  ship,  the  "  Rotterdam,"  en  route  to 
New  York: 

Noon  position  50.9  N.,  15.30  W.  Foggy  in  Channel. 
Since  good  weather.  Was  held  up  by  British  cruiser  be- 
tween Downs  and  Lizard.  "  Potsdam  "  was  ordered  by 
English  warship  to  proceed  to  Falmouth.  No  news  about 
passengers  when  I  left  Rotterdam,  but  probably  Germans 
and  Austrian  reservists  taken  off.  Pleasant  trip. 

(Signed)     STENGER. 


The  group  about  the  bulletin-board  roared  threats  and 
suggestions.  "  We  must  fight !  We  must  do  something ! 
Go  to  the  Captain  and  make  him  take  us  back!  Make 
him  take  us  back  to  New  York.  Make  him  go  north 
around  Ireland.  Make  him  take  us  to  Hamburg.  Shoot 
him  if  he  won't  do  it!" 

I  raced  up  to  the  Captain's  office,  just  below  the  bridge, 
and  waited  for  the  next  move.  Fog  deluged  the  ship, 
screening  her  from  all  eyes,  and  the  waves  roared  be- 
neath. Sky  and  sea  and  air  were  a  dirty,  dangerous 
gray.  But  the  fog  horn  was  dumb  and  the  wireless  gave 
no  sign.  We  were  silently  running  toward  the  British 
patrols.  Somewhere  hidden  in  the  fogbanks  before  us 
the  liner  "  Rotterdam  "  was  hurrying  toward  New  York 
and  safety.  Would  the  Germans  compel  our  Captain 
to  put  them  aboard  her?  Would  they  make  him  turn 
back  with  the  "  Nieuw  Amsterdam"?  I  knew  they 
were  desperate.  The  men  clustered  about  the  bulletin- 
board  were  half  frantic  with  fear.  Their  next  move 
would  be  interesting. 

There  was  not  long  to  wait.  Six  officers  of  the  re- 
serves suddenly  appeared  in  line  at  the  door,  bowed,  re- 
moved their  caps,  and  in  perfect  silence  filed  over  the 
threshold  and  ranged  themselves  about  the  Cap- 

" Herr  Kapitan"  the  senior  German  began,  clutching 
his  North  German  Yacht  Club  cap  in  his  nervous  fingers, 
"  we  have  seen  the  marconigram  from  the  captain  of  the 


'  Rotterdam/    We  request  that  you  turn  the  ship  about 
and  sail  her  back  to  New  York." 

The  Captain's  chilblain  cheeks  glowed  crimson  and  his 
walrus  mustaches  stiffened  as  he  answered  in  halting 
German,  carefully  picking  his  words.  "  Gentlemen/'  he 
began,  "  this  is  a  neutral  ship.  I  go  on,  or  I  lose  my 
ship  and  my  commission." 

"  Then,  Captain,  you  must  set  us  on  board  the  '  Rot- 
terdam '  to  be  returned  to  America." 

"  But,"  objected  Captain  Baron,  "  the  '  Rotterdam '  is 
crowded  already.  Every  ship  for  America  now  is  full 
with  Americans  anxious  to  get  home ;  nik  wahr?  There 
are  eight  hundred  of  you.  How  could  I  transfer  so 

The  spokesman  flushed.  He  decided  to  be  brutally 
frank,  to  think  only  of  his  own  safety.  "We  do  not 
ask  you  to  transfer  all,"  he  said  sullenly. 

"Who  then?" 

"  I  speak  for  myself  and  my  friends."  He  indicated 
the  committee  with  a  wave  of  his  cap. 

The  Captain  retorted  hotly,  "  I  will  not  do  for  you 
what  I  would  not  do  for  the  others ! " 

"  All  the  first-class  passengers,  then !  " 

"  I  will  not  do  for  the  first-class  what  I  cannot  do  for 
the  second-class  and  steerage."  Then  he  added,  per- 
suasively, "  Think,  gentlemen ;  there  would  be  riot 
there  if  I  transferred  only  you." 


The  committee  muttered.  "  Transfer  all,  then.  Cap- 
tain, you  must " 

"Transfer  in  this  heavy  sea?"  The  Captain  stared. 
"  My  boats  would  be  knocked  to  pieces.  If  one  boat  is 
smashed,  if  one  life  is  lost,  I  am  responsible ;  nik  wahrf  " 

The  committee  grew  openly  angry.  One  after  the 
other  they  snapped  out  orders,  and  the  Captain  answered 
more  and  more  stiffly. 

"  You  must  take  us  to  Spain !  " 

"  To  Spain  ?  "  The  Captain  shrugged  his  shoulders. 
"  I  have  only  enough  coal  to  reach  Rotterdam.  My 
papers  say  I  go  to  Rotterdam.  I  go  there — not  to 

"To  the  Azores!" 

"  But,  gentlemen,  the  Azores  are  two  thousand  miles 

"  Around  England  to  the  north! " 

"But  coal?" 

"  By  God,  Captain,  you  must  do  something  for  us ! 
It  was  understood  when  we  bought  our  tickets  of  your 
company " 

"  Gentlemen,  gentlemen,  nothing  is  understood  at  sea. 
Anything  can  happen  at  sea ;  nik  wahrf  On  the  back  of 
your  ticket  it  says  you  agree  this  company  shall  not  be 
held  responsible  for  loss  or  damage  arising  from  acts 
of  God,  accidents  at  sea,  or  any  acts  of  princes  or  rulers 
of  peoples." 

"  But,  Captain " 


"  I  cannot  do  anything." 

"  But " 

"  I  say  I  cannot  do  anything." 

Perspiration  started  on  the  brows  of  the  committee- 
men.  They  stared  at  each  other  and  at  the  Captain  help- 
lessly. Each  man  was  thinking  only  of  himself.  Free- 
dom or  prison  until  the  end  of  the  war  hung  in  the  bal- 
ance, and  the  Captain  held  the  scales.  They  itched  to 
settle  the  matter  by  a  fight,  instead  of  argument,  but  the 
old  Captain  was  stubbornly  firm.  "  If  there  is  outbreak 
I  put  the  troublemakers  in  irons ;  nik  wahr?  " 

The  committee  decided  to  surrender  at  discretion,  and 
its  spokesman  addressed  the  Captain  again.  "  Herr 
Kapitan,  will  you  allow  us  to  send  a  marconigram  to  the 
captain  of  the  '  Rotterdam  '  ?  " 

"  Certainly,  gentlemen." 

"  We  will  ask  him  to  take  us  off." 

"Of  course,  of  course.  But  I  know  what  the  captain 
of  the  '  Rotterdam '  says.  He  says,  '  I  have  already 
three  thousand  passengers.  I  cannot  take  one  more/ 
But  you  may  send  the  message." 

The  committee  climbed  slowly  down  the  ladder,  brush- 
ing aside  nine-year  old  Hans,  a  little  lonely  German  boy 
who  would  never  march  or  fight  because  of  a  lame  hip, 
but  who  played  constantly  with  toy  soldiers.  The  crowd 
of  passengers  rumbled  with  excitement.  They  rushed 
on  the  committeemen  and  overwhelmed  them  with  ques- 
tions. "What  did  the  Captain  say?"  "Will  he  set  us 


on  the  'Rotterdam'?"  "Are  we  going  back  to 
America?  "  "  What  are  we  going  to  do?  "  "  Shall  we 
get  through?  "  "  Are  we  going  to  Hamburg?  " 

"  To  the  smoking-room !  "  ordered  the  senior  member 
loudly.  "  To  the  smoking-room !  to  the  smoking-room !  " 
echoed  the  crowd,  and  rushed  down  the  decks  and 
through  the  narrow  doorways,  hunting  for  places  of  van- 
tage among  the  tables,  chairs,  and  heavily  upholstered 

The  chairman  walked  to  the  center  of  the  room, 
ceremoniously  removed  his  cap  and  placed  it  beside  a 
plate  of  sandwiches,  cleared  his  throat,  and  waited  for 
absolute  silence  before  he  began. 

"  Gentlemen/'  he  said,  ignoring  the  presence  of  the 
ladies,  "  the  Captain  permits  us  to  send  a  marconi  to  the 
captain  of  the  '  Rotterdam '  to  ask  that  he  take  us  back 
to  New  York.  We  can  do  nothing  else.  How  many 

Twenty  or  thirty  hands  flew  up.  There  was  consterna- 
tion on  every  face,  but  no  attempt  at  debate.  The  chair- 
man clutched  his  yachting  cap,  placed  it  on  his  head,  and 
strode  out  to  draft  the  wireless  message. 

Half  an  hour  later  Captain  Baron  gave  the  answer. 
The  "  Rotterdam  "  could  do  nothing.  She  was  less  than 
ten  miles  away  from  us,  blanketed  in  mist,  but  every 
stateroom  was  filled  to  bursting  with  Americans  frantic 
to  get  home,  and  Captain  Stenger  could  give  no  aid  to 
the  passengers  on  the  "  Nieuw  Amsterdam."  There  was 


nothing  to  do  but  to  sail  straight  on  into  the  jaws  of  the 
British  Lion— jaws  which  stretched  from  Cape  Town 
to  Bergen — and  chalked  up  on  the  bulletin-board  beside 
Captain  Stenger's  first  marconigram  appeared  this  warn- 

Passengers  will  please  pay  their  Wine  Bills  to  the  Head 
Steward  before  leaving  the  Ship. 


A  dull  echo  of  thunder  awoke  me.  It  was  five 
o'clock.  The  haze  of  early  morning  swam  dizzily  past 
the  clouded  port-holes,  so  one  could  see  nothing  out- 
side. An  excited  Teutonic  voice  began  calling  in  the 
passageway;  then  another  and  another.  A  child  cried 
out.  Suddenly  the  engines  stopped,  and  the  ship  slid  for- 
ward noiselessly  except  for  the  lapping  of  waves. 

I  tumbled  out  of  my  berth  and  ran  upstairs,  in  pa- 
jamas, dancing  pumps,  and  overcoat.  Others  ahead  of 
me  had  made  equally  impromptu  toilets  and  met  each 
new  arrival  with  grim  laughter  and  jests. 

We  were  stopped,  but  were  we  captured?  The  thun- 
derclap that  woke  me  had  been  the  sound  of  a  shot  fired 
across  our  bows. 

Standing  on  the  slippery  deck  and  clinging  to  the  drip- 
ping rail,  we  saw  a  passenger  ship  of  about  the  tonnage 
of  the  "  Nieuw  Amsterdam,"  with  big  red  funnels  and 
black  hull,  slowly  bearing  down  toward  us.  A  gun  or 
two  peered  from  her  forecastle ;  two  large  signal  flags — 


a  white  cross  on  a  blue  field  and  a  blue-and-white  checker- 
board— the  code  which  means  "  stop  immediately " — 
flew  at  her  peak.  A  gull,  the  first  we  had  seen  for  a 
week,  swung  lazily  in  the  level  morning  light  between  the 
two  ships,  and  a  shark  undulated  alongside. 

But  what  was  the  nationality  of  the  stranger?  I 
looked  twice  for  her  flag  and  could  hardly  believe  my 
eyes.  It  was  the  tricolor  of  France ! 

"  She's  not  British :  she's  French !  "  I  gasped  to  a  Ger- 
man beside  me. 

"  Donnerwetter! "  he  groaned,  "  France ;  not  Eng- 
land after  all.  It  will  be  worse  for  us  than  if  the  Eng- 
lish had  captured  us.  This  is  the  second  of  September 
— Sedan  Day — the  anniversary  of  the  battle  where  we 
captured  their  Emperor.  A  bad  day  for  us !  a  very  bad 

The  newcomer  slid  broadside  to  us.  We  could  see 
seven  or  eight  guns  pointing  wickedly  from  between  her 
decks  or  from  the  bridge ;  a  moment  more  and  we  could 
read  her  name :  she  was  "  La  Savoie,"  a  passenger  ship 
of  the  French  Line,  plying  ordinarily  between  Havre  and 
New  York. 

On  the  boat-deck  one  of  the  Dutch  marconi  operators 
was  leaning  over  the  rail  behind  a  life-raft.  His  white, 
angular  profile  was  turned  seaward,  but  he  heard  my 
step  and  wheeled.  To  my  astonishment  his  face  was 
radiant.  "Good,"  he  hissed  exultantly;  "Vive  la 
France!  Vive  la  France;  riest-ce  pas?  These  damned 


Germans  are  going  to  get  what's  coming  to  them.  Why, 
they've  treated  me  like  a  dog,  sir.  They've  bullied  and 
hectored  and  abused  me,  because  I  wouldn't  tell  them  the 
news.  They'll  cool  their  heels  in  prison  while  this  war 
lasts,  I  hope.  Hurrah!  Vive  la  France!" 

A  little  white  boat  appeared  at  the  side  of  the  stranger 
and  was  lowered  rapidly  to  the  water.  Five  minutes 
later  it  was  alongside  the  "  Nieuw  Amsterdam,"  and  a 
dainty  French  lieutenant,  neat  as  a  doll,  in  blue  coat, 
gold  braid,  and  ceremonial  sword,  scampered  up  the 
ship's  ladder.  Behind  him  climbed  two  tars  who  looked 
like  house-painters  tricked  out  in  white  overalls  and  blue 
sailor  caps,  and  armed  with  pistols  and  cutlasses. 

At  first  it  was  difficult  to  take  the  capture  seriously. 
The  little  lieutenant's  sword  got  in  his  way,  and  he  fell 
flat  on  the  fog-soaked  deck  to  an  accompaniment  of  gruff 
chuckles  from  the  German  passengers.  But  he  was  on 
his  feet  in  an  instant,  and  he  took  time  on  his  way  to 
meet  the  Captain  to  remove  his  blue-and-gold  cap  and 
bow  gracefully  to  a  pretty  lady  who  was  watching.  Our 
ship  had  been  a  man's  world  until  that  moment — the 
reservists  ignored  women — but  the  first  Frenchman  who 
met  us  restored  womanhood  to  its  gilded  pedestal  with 
a  single  bow. 

The  conference  in  the  Captain's  office  was  brief.  Our 
papers  were  seized,  the  wireless  apparatus  was  dis- 
mantled, the  marconi  room  sealed,  and  the  ship  and  all 
on  her  were  declared  prisoners  of  war.  Captain  Baron 


was  asked  to  leave  his  office  and  the  bridge,  and  the 
dainty  little  lieutenant  assumed  command. 

The  cutter  next  brought  a  detail  of  marines,  armed 
with  rifles,  fixed  bayonets,  and  pistols  thrust  into  wide 
black  belts.  The  armament  was  impressive,  and  it  was 
disquieting  to  think  of  the  havoc  one  fool  might  cause; 
but  the  faces  and  bearing  of  the  marines  were  most 

It  was  not  until  evening,  however,  that  we  made  a 
startling  and  reassuring  discovery  regarding  our  warders. 
My  friend,  Dr.  van  Loon,  who  was  in  constant  demand 
as  interpreter,  and  who  changed  from  English  and 
Dutch  to  German  and  French  without  shifting  verbal 
gears,  was  in  quizzical  conversation  with  the  master  at 
arms  in  charge  of  the  detail  of  marines — a  fat,  sedate 
little  Frenchman,  wearing  a  huge  medal  for  service  in 

"Who  are  you?"  he  asked  the  Frenchman.  "Who 
are  you,  I  mean,  when  you  aren't  capturing  Dutch 
steamers  on  the  high  seas  ?  " 

"  I  am  steward  of  '  La  Savoie/  monsieur." 

"You  are  what?" 

"  Head  steward  of  '  La  Savoie/  monsieur.  I  have 
charge  of  the  dining-room." 

"  Ye  gods !  And  what  about  these  fellows  you  have 
charge  of  here — these  fellows  with  guns  and  bayo- 

"  They  are  stewards,  also,  monsieur." 


"  Gott  strafe  stewards !  And  do  you  do  this  sort  of 
thing  often?" 

"  Pardon,  monsieur?  " 

"  Do  you  often  capture  ships  and  put  prize  crews  on 
board  of  them  ?  " 

"  Monsieur,  I  will  tell  you  the  truth ;  you  are  our  first 
capture!  But  it  is  pleasant  capturing  ships;  pleasanter 
than  being  always  a  steward;  n'est-ce  pas?"  And  he 
beamed  amiably. 

Morning  passed,  and  still  we  lay  where  we  had  first 
been  arrested.  "  La  Savoie  "  grimly  circled  round  and 
round  us,  trying  to  train  all  her  seventeen  guns  on  us  at 
once,  but  still  we  did  not  move.  Wild  rumors  of  our 
fate  spread  like  fire  about  the  ship,  but  the  little  doll-like 
lieutenant  sat  in  the  Captain's  office  and  waited  patiently. 

"  Why  are  we  waiting?  "  he  was  asked. 

"  Orders  from  Paris,  messieurs." 

"  Then  where  shall  you  take  us?  " 

"I  do  not  know."  He  shrugged  his  shoulders  elo- 
quently. "  Maybe  Cherbourg,  maybe  Brest." 

"  And  how  long  will  it  take  us  to  get  to  Cherbourg?  " 

"I  do  not  know."  Another  shrug.  "Maybe  three 
hours,  maybe  five  hours,  maybe  twelve  hours." 

"  For  the  Lord's  sake !  And  then  what  are  you  going 
to  do?" 

"  We  take  you  off." 

One  of  the  German  officers  spoke  up  insolently.   "  Mon- 


sieur,"  he  drawled,  "  Cherbourg  is  not  far  from  Paris, 
is  it?  We  shall  get  there  in  time  to  join  the  German 
armies  marching  in." 

The  lieutenant  smiled  placidly.  "We  take  you  off," 
he  repeated.  "  Orders  from  Paris." 

Days  afterward  we  learned  that  during  those  heavy 
hours  when  we  lay  at  sea  under  the  guns  of  "La 
Savoie  "  Paris  had  ceased  to  be  the  capital  of  France. 
The  encircling  Germans  were  close.  Archives,  records, 
and  the  Government  itself  were  removed  to  Bordeaux, 
and  the  armies  and  the  shell  of  Paris  awaited  the  in- 

After  noon  we  were  ordered  to  proceed  to  Brest,  so, 
with  "  La  Savoie  "  leading  the  way  and  covering  us  with 
her  wicked  stern  guns,  we  steamed  slowly  southward 
over  the  summer  sea.  It  was  night  when  we  anchored 
off  the  harbor  entrance.  Through  soft  evening  haze 
two  lighthouses  winked  drowsily  at  us,  and  a  pale  moon 
looked  down  in  sympathy.  It  had  been  a  hard  day.  So 
small  a  thing  as  the  pounding  of  a  salt-cellar  on  a  table 
in  the  dining-room  at  luncheon  brought  us  to  our  feet 
as  if  we  were  shot.  Lame  little  Hans,  clumping  along 
the  deck,  alone  seemed  untroubled  by  the  general  misery. 
In  the  afternoon  I  strolled  into  the  smoking-room  to 
find  that  haven  of  masculine  comfort  occupied  by  one 
German,  and  he  playing  solitaire. 

But  the  Dutch  stewards  and  some  of  the  crew  seemed 
actually  to  enjoy  the  situation.  In  a  week  the  German 


passengers  had  made  themselves  almost  universally  un- 
popular. They  abused  the  stewards,  quarreled  with  the 
Captain  and  Purser,  and  wrangled  among  themselves. 
They  insisted  on  maintaining  small,  mutually  hostile 
groups,  apparently  based  on  military  or  nationalistic 
lines.  Hungarians,  Austrians,  Prussians,  and  Bavarians 
flocked  by  themselves,  but  all  united  to  despise  our  Dutch 
hosts.  In  retaliation,  the  stewards  were  quick  to  strike 
up  acquaintance  with  their  French  guards,  and  at  night, 
as  I  passed  the  drying-room  on  Deck  "  C,"  I  overheard 
the  tailor  and  his  helper  gaily  whistling  the  "  Marseil- 


At  nine  o'clock  some  of  us  were  standing  on  the  boat- 
deck  of  the  "  Nieuw  Amsterdam "  when  suddenly  a 
searchlight  blazed  out  of  the  darkness  and  fingered 
rapidly  along  our  decks  and  superstructure.  What 
made  the  light  most  interesting  was  the  fact  that  it  was 
borne  over  the  water  at  extraordinary  speed  and  in  our 
direction.  It  came  like  an  express  train  in  a  vast  and 
splendid  curve,  probing  us  every  instant  with  its  calcium 
glare,  till  ropes  and  spars  and  davits  lay  bare  to  its  gaze. 
The  light  was  very  close  now,  and  we  could  see  a  vague 
snaky  hull  and  two  small  black  stacks. 

"  Torpedo-boat !  "  muttered  a  reservist. 

The  little  craft  tore  along  behind,  then  around  us-  all 
the  time  examining  us  with  her  searchlight.  Suddenly 


the  light  snapped  off,  and  we  were  left  in  Egyptian  dark- 
ness, straining  our  eyes  after  the  vanished  ship. 

A  few  minutes  more,  and  little  bunched  lights,  like 
clusters  of  fireflies,  appeared  in  three  directions  at  once 
drawing  toward  us.  They  slid  across  the  calm  summer 
sea  like  water-skaters  across  a  pond,  and  there  was  some- 
thing so  ethereal,  so  ghostly  about  them  that  it  seemed 
impossible  to  imagine  that  they  were  instruments  of 
destruction.  They  ranged  about  us,  two  or  three  thou- 
sand yards  away.  A  hoarse  voice  began  a  megaphoned 
conversation.  Another  voice  coughed  back  a  brief  an- 
swer. A  glaring  searchlight  flashed  on  and  examined 
us  again — nook  and  cranny,  wireless  apparatus  and  water- 
line.  Then  the  bunched  lights  began  to  flash  off  and  on 
in  rhythmic  order,  changing  colors  as  they  flashed :  red — 
red — yellow — red — yellow — yellow.  The  torpedo-boats 
were  signaling. 

One  of  them  drew  closer  to  us,  and  a  megaphoned 
voice  retched  out  a  query  and  was  answered  from  our 
bridge.  The  firefly  lights  flashed  new  signals;  then  the 
boats  ranged  about  us — one  dead  ahead,  one  astern,  one 
on  either  side — and  the  "  Nieuw  Amsterdam  "  steamed 

"  Damned  little  French  rowboats ! "  grunted  a  reser- 
vist near  me.  "You  should  see  our  High  Seas  fleet," 
and  he  leaned  across  the  rail  and  began  to  explain  to  me 
the  superiority  of  the  German  craft. 

I  left  him  abruptly  and  went  to  find  the  Captain,  for 


an  uncomfortable  thought  had  just  occurred  to  me  and 
I  longed  for  confirmation  of  my  fears.  "  We're  going 
over  mine  fields,"  I  said  to  myself.  "If  one  of  the 
mines  has  happened  to  get  loose  from  its  anchorage, 
pfzzt — up  we  go!  The  night  is  black  as  ink,  and  there 
are  just  four  torpedo-boats  to  rescue  more  than  a  thou- 
sand passengers  and  the  crew !  " 

"No.  It  is  the  other  way  round,"  said  Captain 

"  How  do  you  mean?  " 

"  The  boot  is  on  the  other  foot.  It  is  not  the  French 
mine  to  be  afraid  of,  but  the  German  mine.  There  are 
no  mines  here  at  the  entrance  of  the  harbor  of  Brest,  but 
the  French  have  found  floating  mines  in  the  Bay  of  Bis- 
cay, and  they  say  German  passengers  on  neutral  vessels 
have  sown  them. 

'  You  have  not  a  mine  with  you  ?  "  He  looked  at  me 
smilingly.  "  That  is  good.  The  torpedo-boats  turn  their 
searchlights  on  the  ship  for  fear  the  Germans  sow  mines 

A  tall,  angular  Prussian  officer  with  whom  I  had  struck 
up  an  acquaintanceship  joined  me  on  the  hurricane  deck 
to  watch  the  ship's  manoeuvring.  His  right  cheek  bore 
the  purple  welts  of  rapier  scars  and  he  stood  erect  as  a 
pine  tree,  peering  into  the  darkness  ahead. 

"  It  will  soon  be  over,"  I  said. 

"  Ja"  he  answered.    After  a  pause,  some  shaft  of  feel- 


ing  seemed  to  pierce  his  temperamental  armor-plate,  and 
he  began  to  tell  me  of  his  experiences  as  an  officer  in 
the  German  army.  "  Uhlan  officer  ten  and  one-half 
year,"  he  went  on  in  English.  "  Now  I  am  prisoner, 
without  the  fight.  It  will  be  hard.  It  will  be  hard  for 
all,  nichtf  but  most  hard  for  me,  I  think.  Harder 
than  for  those  others.  You  see,  I  am  officer;  I  am  in 
the  regular  army  ten  and  one-half  year;  nichtf  The 
others,  they  are  only  reserves.  It  do  not  matter  for 

His  face  lightened  suddenly  with  a  new  thought,  and 
he  turned  to  me  with  animation.  "  But  in  prison  I  am 
better  off  as  them.  I  am  officer,  nichtf  And  in  the 
prison  the  German  officer  gets  same  pay  as  French  offi- 
cer in  the  battle.  French  officer  in  German  prison,  he 
gets  same  pay.  So  I  do  not  have  to  work.  Maybe  I 
report  once  a  day;  write  my  name  down  on  a  paper. 
The  others  must  work.  Not  so  bad  for  me,  nichtf 

"And  not  long,  either.  We  take  Paris,  nichtf  The 
war  is  over  in  six  weeks.  Then  we  take  London.  Then 
we  sign  the  peace.  A  short  war,  nichtf" 

"  Perhaps,"  I  said. 

"If  it  is  long,  then  I  am  better  here  as  in  England. 
Brest  is  not  so  far  from  Paris.  I  know  all  France.  I 
escape  from  the  prison,  nichtf  I  get  so  to  the  German 
army,  and  am  officer  of  Uhlans.  Achf  that  is  fine,  fine; 
nichtf  " 

Half  an  hour  later  our  flotilla  had  passed  the  black 


cliffs  on  either  side  of  the  channel  and  was  in  the  har- 
bor. Like  pinpricks  of  yellow  light  in  a  misty  screen, 
the  distant  city  of  Brest  appeared.  Passengers  stood  in 
awed  silence  on  the  decks  of  the  "  Nieuw  Amsterdam." 
It  was  a  cruel  contrast  with  our  departure  from  New 
York,  and  we  were  full  of  fears  and  hopes  and  wonder. 

Two  young  reservists  leaned  side  by  side  against  the 
rail.  They  had  their  arms  about  each  other,  and  once  I 
saw  the  younger  rest  his  head  for  a  moment  on  the 
shoulder  of  the  other.  It  was  the  only  bit  of  tender- 
ness I  noticed  during  the  time  I  was  with  the  reservists. 

We  slid  slowly  on  over  the  calm  water.  One  by  one 
our  torpedo-boat  escorts  flashed  their  signal  lights  for  a 
moment,  and  then  made  off  into  the  darkness.  Ahead 
of  us  loomed  the  black  bulk  of  "  La  Savoie  "  at  anchor. 
We  moved  slowly  toward  her;  then  around  to  one  side. 
The  propeller  ceased  churning.  There  came  a  yell  from 
the  bridge,  "  '  L'ancrel",  the  splash  of  a  heavy  weight 
and  the  wrenching  grind  of  chains  as  they  slid  over 
the  side.  Then  silence  fell,  and  we  lay  at  rest  in  the 
moonlight  near  the  black  silhouette  of  our  captor,  under 
the  guns  of  Brest  and  prison. 


After  the  cool  freedom  of  the  voyage  the  confinement 
and  midsummer  heat  of  the  harbor  were  almost  unen- 
durable. There  was  nothing  to  do  but  walk  and  talk. 
We  were  reduced  to  a  democracy  of  misery.  All  morn- 


ing  long  a  snaky  blue-black  torpedo-boat  circled  about 
us,  and  flotillas  of  destroyers  and  submarines  glided  past 
on  their  way  to  the  open  sea.  Guns  peered  down  from 
fortifications  fringing  the  hills  above  the  harbor,  the 
seven  picturesque  Norman  towers  of  Brest  suggested 
nothing  but  prison  walls  and  donjon  keeps,  and  on  the 
decks  of  the  "  Nieuw  Amsterdam "  stood  groups  of 
dour-faced  marines  and  gendarmes,  for  the  ex-stewards 
of  "La  Savoie"  had  been  replaced  by  stout  Breton 
guardsmen.  We  were  prisoners,  and  we  were  made  to 
feel  it. 

Immediately  after  noon  we  were  notified  to  prepare 
to  leave  the  ship  at  once.  Only  Dutch  citizens  and  the 
women,  of  whatever  nationality,  were  to  remain  on 

All  restraints  melted  away.  A  Bedlam  of  emotions 
seized  the  passengers.  No  one  in  the  ship  was  sane. 
Frantic  women  walked  the  decks  weeping,  and  the  lips 
of  many  men  were  bleeding,  half-bitten  through  in  the 
effort  to  keep  back  curses  and  tears.  Our  ship  and  all 
her  cargo  were  said  to  be  confiscated;  Holland  was 
rumored  to  be  on  the  verge  of  war  with  France;  the 
women  were  reported  to  be  prisoners  of  war  like  the  men 
and  were  to  be  interned  in  a  Breton  fishing  village  until 
the  end  of  the  war.  Under  orders  from  the  French  offi- 
cers in  charge  of  the  ship  Dutch  stewards  herded  the 
male  passengers  on  deck  and  left  them,  surrounded  with 
hand-luggage.  Some  wrote  farewell  letters,  resting  the 


paper  on  their  knees  or  on  the  backs  of  valises.  The 
few  whose  wives  were  on  board  were  half -crazed  with 
horror  at  thought  of  the  inevitable  separation,  and,  what 
made  it  hardest  to  bear,  the  women  were  penned  in  the 
dining-room  where  they  could  not  see  the  disembarka- 

The  steerage  passengers  went  first,  climbing  down  the 
ship's  ladder  to  a  military  tugboat  crammed  with  French 
gendarmes  and  sailors.  One  by  one  the  men  were 
searched,  and  their  pocket  knives,  matches,  razors,  and 
other  small  possessions  taken  from  them  and  dumped  into 
wicker  baskets.  Their  hand-luggage  was  passed  hand 
over  hand  to  a  barge,  and  then  the  men  were  marched 
into  another  bateau,  where  they  sat  crowded  together  on 
benches  or  in  the  bottom  of  the  boat.  Awkward  immi- 
grant bags,  an  English  horn,  a  'cello,  and  a  phonograph 
lay  in  the  sprawling  heaps  of  impedimenta.  The  men 
kept  up  bravely,  and  when  the  tug  panted  off  down  the 
Bay,  towing  the  two  barges,  the  captives  cheered  and 
waved  their  hats  to  those  still  on  the  ship. 

A  wailing  shriek  from  the  dining-room  suddenly 
startled  us.  One  of  the  steerage  women,  mother  of  six 
small  children,  had  fainted  at  separation  from  her  hus- 
band. She,  like  most  of  the  women,  believed  the  men 
were  to  be  taken  to  the  nearest  landing-place  and  shot 
down  by  the  French.  She  had  come  expecting  to  have 
her  husband's  pay  while  he  was  in  the  army,  or  to  have 
his  pension  if  he  fell.  There  was  nothing  for  her  in 


America;  there  was  less  than  nothing  for  her  and  her 
children  in  Holland,  where  they  would  be  landed  penni- 
less and  friendless  if  the  ship  were  allowed  to  proceed. 
And  her  plight  was  the  plight  of  a  score  of  others.  But 
the  men  on  deck  could  do  nothing.  They  were  drowned 
in  their  own  misery. 

Among  the  second-cabin  passengers  was  a  German 
Lutheran  minister  about  sixty  years  old,  who  staggered 
down  the  ladder  painfully  dragging  a  big  hand-bag  be- 
hind him.  Gendarmes  stepped  forward  to  search  him 
like  the  rest,  but  the  Captain  stopped  them  with  a  word, 
and  then  eloquently  waved  the  old  man  to  a  seat  on  a 
coil  of  rope;  not  in  the  barge,  but  in  the  tug  with  the 
French  officers. 

Our  time  came.  We  marched  slowly  down  the  stair; 
down  under  the  sweetly  smiling  face  of  Queen  Wil- 
helmina,  powerless  to  protect  those  who  travel  under  her 
flag;  down  past  the  frantic  women  in  the  dining-room, 
crowded  to  the  doors,  sobbing  and  calling  good-bys; 
down  past  the  stewards,  even  in  those  tragic  moments 
anxious  only  for  their  tips;  down  to  the  French  officers 
who  were  to  decide  our  fate.  Each  of  us  had  grown 
colossally  selfish.  The  only  problem  which  mattered 
was,  "  What  are  they  going  to  do  with  ME  ?  " 

Five  of  us  were  American  citizens.  We  had  little  in 
common  but  our  citizenship,  yet  that  bond  suddenly  bo- 
came  stronger  than  anything  else  in  the  world.  We  kept 
close  together  as  we  marched  down  the  stair.  We  were 


determined  to  fight  the  matter  out  as  a  group.  We  were 
free-born  Americans,  we  told  ourselves.  We  were  not 
to  be  ordered  off  any  ship.  We  would  go  when  we  were 
ready,  and  not  an  instant  before.  We  would  fight,  if 
necessary.  Those  Frenchmen  would  have  to  take  us  off 
at  the  bayonet's  point,  if  they  took  us  at  all !  .  .  .  It  was 
all  very  childish,  no  doubt. 

The  foremost  officer  looked  quickly  at  our  papers, 
bowed  courteously,  and  waved  us  back.  "  You  are  not 
to  go,  gentlemen,"  he  said. 

We  ran  back  upstairs  in  a  frenzy  of  selfish  joy.  It 
was  like  a  reprieve  from  a  sentence  of  death;  as  unex- 
pected and  as  precious.  We  were  a  handful  of  lonely 
passengers  now.  Already  the  barges  were  moving  away, 
and  the  prisoners  were  calling  good-bys  and  waving. 
The  women  were  released  from  the  dining-room  and  re- 
joined us  on  the  deck.  Half  an  hour  later  the  barges 
were  little  sooty  specks  moving  far  out  across  the  blue 
waters  of  the  Bay,  and  on  the  topmost  deck  were  a  dozen 
women  and  nine-year  old  Hans  watching  them  out  of 


The  French  declared  our  cargo  contraband,  so  that  one 
million  dollars'  worth  of  silver  bullion,  consigned  to  the 
Dutch  Government,  large  quantities  of  flour  and  tinned 
meat,  and  perhaps  other  supplies,  had  to  be  removed- be- 
fore the  ship  could  proceed.  All  day  we  watched  the 


green- jacketed  Dutch  crew  helping  French  marines  to 
transfer  flour  from  the  hold  of  the  "  Nieuw  Amster- 
dam "  to  the  deck  of  a  barge  appropriately  named  "  Le 
Corbeau" — the  Crow.  The  blazing  September  sun 
smote  us  like  fists  from  the  surface  of  a  painted  sea  and 
sky;  the  green  Breton  hills  and  the  Norman  towers  of 
Brest  were  an  agony  of  invitation  to  the  eye,  but  we 
could  not  set  foot  on  shore;  we  could  not  see  a  news- 
paper; we  could  not  communicate  with  the  American 
Ambassador  in  Paris,  and  there  was  no  American  Con- 
sul to  whom  we  could  appeal  in  Brest.  The  women  were 
forbidden  to  write  to  the  German  prisoners.  Yet  sud- 
denly, from  no  one  knew  where,  came  news. 

"  They  were  taken  to  Devil's  Island.  One  was  shot 
on  the  way.  A  French  marine  said  so!"  Rumor,  like 
a  hot  wind,  ran  through  the  groups  on  the  ship, 

As  the  day  waned,  a  second  barge  drew  alongside  the 
"  Nieuw  Amsterdam."  We  watched  its  approach  in- 
differently, when  suddenly  there  came  a  woman's  wail, 
horrible  as  keening  for  the  dead.  "  My  husband  is 
there !  "  she  screamed.  "  My  husband  is  in  that  barge ! 
He  is  there!  He  has  come  back!  He  has  come  back! 
Oh,  why  has  he  come  back?  What  are  the  French  go- 
ing to  do  with  him?  "  Her  hysteria  swept  all  the  passen- 
gers. Women  crowded  the  ship's  rail,  sobbing  and  call- 
ing, and  men  standing  in  the  barge  beneath  answered 
and  waved  their  handkerchiefs. 

We  waited  breathlessly.    Seven  hundred  and  fifty-one 


Germans  and  Austrians  had  been  taken  from  the  ship. 
How  many  were  to  be  returned?  Or  were  any  to  be 
returned?  We  could  only  wait.  Then  five  old  men  and 
a  boy  of  seventeen  staggered  to  the  deck,  and  we  fell 
upon  them  with  questions.  "  Where  are  the  others  ?  " 
we  demanded.  Only  the  boy  had  strength  to  answer, 
"  They  are  at  Devil's  Island — all  but  the  officers  and  Red 
Cross  doctors.  Those  are  down  in  the  barge  on  their 
way  to  the  penitentiary  in  the  city  of  Brest.  Thirty-two 
officers ;  five  doctors." 

A  clamor  of  farewells  arose  from  the  barge,  for  the 
tugboat  was  puffing  away.  The  mad  wailing  began 
again,  and  the  horrible  tragedy  of  separation  was  played 
a  second  time  to  the  end. 

One  of  the  old  men  who  was  returned  to  the  ship  was 
a  veteran  member  of  the  Hungarian  Parliament  and  had 
been  in  America  just  before  the  war  broke  out,  repre- 
senting the  International  Peace  movement.  It  was  bit- 
ter irony  that  such  a  man  should  be  prisoner  of  war. 
He  was  more  than  sixty  years  old,  big,  spiny,  and  un- 
couth, with  a  skin  like  a  sun-dried  cactus.  He  returned 
to  us  unshaven,  dirty,  so  exhausted  that  he  could  not 
stand  without  support,  and  with  his  wide  eyes  fixed  and 
terrible.  We  helped  him  to  a  steamer-chair,  and  he  told 
in  short,  apoplectic  gasps  of  what  had  happened  to  the 

"  They  took  us  to  le  Fret/'  he  began;  "a  fishing  vil- 


lage.  It  is  in  the  Bay.  We  were  unloaded  two  by  two. 
French  fisherwomen  came  and  cursed  us.  They  shook 
their  fists.  But  there  was  no  violence — not  yet.  Then 
a  man  was  shot.  He  was  a  German  Pole.  A  steerage 
passenger.  He  carried  a  little  satchel  with  all  his  money 
in  it.  The  French  officer  shouted  to  him  to  drop  the 
satchel  with  the  rest  of  the  luggage.  The  Pole  held  on. 
Maybe  he  did  not  understand  French.  Fisherwomen 
crowded  up  very  close  and  yelled  '  Shoot  him !  Shoot 
him!'  Still  he  held  on.  The  officer  tried  to  jerk  the 
satchel  from  him,  but  he  held  on.  Then  the  officer  cried 
out  very  loud,  and  they  shot  him  four  times. 

"  After  the  shooting  I  saw  his  body  lying  in  the  road- 
way, but  he  still  held  his  little  satchel. 

"  Then  we  were  marched  four  miles,  very  fast.  The 

younger  men  could  do  it,  but  the  old  men !  One  was 

a  Lutheran  minister,  sixty-one  years  old,  very  heavy, 
and  he  soon  had  to  stop.  The  soldiers  drove  him  on. 
Then  two  of  our  young  men  caught  him  by  the  arms 
and  dragged  him  with  them.  But  the  old  man  seemed 
to  be  dying,  so  the  young  men  left  him  in  the  road. 

"  It  was  dark  when  we  had  done  our  four  miles.  In 
front  of  us  was  a  black  fortress  named  Crozon  and  a 
causeway  over  the  sea.  We  had  to  run  into  the  fort. 
We  were  told  off  into  squads  of  sixty-six  and  put  into 
bomb-proof  steel  and  concrete  caves  in  the  bottom  of  the 
fortress.  Then  they  locked  us  in. 

"  There  was  no  light.    The  vault  was  air-tight  except 


for  two  small  windows.  It  was  ninety  feet  long,  eighteen 
feet  wide,  and  seventeen  and  one-half  feet  high.  The 
windows  were  two  feet  by  three  and  one-half  feet  high, 
heavily  barred  with  six  railroad  irons.  It  was  horrible ! 

"  There  was  straw  on  the  floor.  Nothing  else.  The 
air  at  first  was  stale.  It  soon  became  moist  and  foul. 
A  man  died.  Another  man  was  dying  when  we  left  the 
fortress  today.  Some  of  the  men  fought  to  reach  the 
windows,  until  we  organized  ourselves  into  squads  of 
tens  and  marched  up  in  turn  to  the  windows  to  gulp  a 
clean  breath.  We  marched  all  night  long.  It  was  pitch 
dark  in  the  vault  and  very  dirty.  The  night  was  hot. 
The  stenches  grew  more  and  more  frightful.  .  .  . 
There  are  things  I  cannot  tell  you.  You  must  imagine. 
We  were  there  twenty-one  hours,  and  the  others  are 
there  yet. 

"  They  call  it  '  L'Ue  du  Diable '— Devil's  Island." 

Days  dragged  by  on  leaden  feet.  Captain  Baron  made 
formal  protest  against  the  seizure  of  the  "  Nieuw  Am- 
sterdam," but  still  we  were  held.  He  twice  visited  Brest 
under  guard  to  interview  the  Dutch  Consul  there,  but  the 
city  was  a  chaos  of  suffering.  Belgian  refugees  begged 
in  all  the  streets;  women  were  in  mourning;  fifteen 
hundred  wounded  Frenchmen  arrived  there  in  a  single 
day,  and  were  hastily  crowded  into  the  small  municipal 
hospitals.  People  lived  in  hourly  expectation  of  the  fall 
of  Paris  and  the  retreat  of  the  French  armies  to  the 


south  and  west.  An  atmosphere  of  tragic  depression 
had  seized  on  every  one,  so  that  it  was  impossible  to 
learn  anything  definite  regarding  the  final  disposition  of 
the  ship. 

The  reservists  and  other  German  and  Austrian  citizens 
were  interned  on  September  third;  the  flour  was  re- 
moved on  the  fourth;  three  hundred  and  ninety  massive 
bars  of  silver,  valued  at  more  than  a  million  dollars,  were 
taken  on  the  fifth;  the  maizena  was  seized  on  the  sixth, 
along  with  six  hundred  tins  of  meat;  and  still  no  de- 
cision had  been  taken  so  far  as  the  ship  was  concerned. 

Then  came  the  magic  "  orders  from  Paris."  Five 
German  Red  Cross  doctors  were  returned  to  the  ship, 
and  we  sailed  at  six  o'clock  in  the  evening  of  Septem- 
ber sixth. 

On  the  morning  of  the  eighth  we  were  in  Rotterdam. 
Our  mails  were  five  days  late,  and  we  were  the  poorer 
by  a  million  dollars'  worth  of  silver,  and  a  cargo  of  flour, 
meat,  and  maizena.  Out  of  about  eight  hundred  Ger- 
mans and  Austrians,  there  remained  only  twenty-six  to 
report  to  their  consuls  in  Holland.  Some  of  these  were 
of  military  age.  One  of  them  was  a  German  Doctor  of 
Philosophy,  who  stowed  himself  in  a  lifeboat  and  lived 
there  for  five  days  on  ship's  biscuit  and  water;  another 
hid  himself  in  a  small  hollow  in  the  ship's  walls,  and  al- 
though he  had  lived  four  and  one-half  days  without 
food  or  water  seemed  none  the  worse  for  his  experience ; 
others  had  traveled  with  Scandinavian  or  Swiss  or 


American  passports,  several  of  them  being  bond  fide 
Americans  citizens  who  wanted  to  volunteer  in  Germany, 
and  so  escaped  the  French. 

Seven  hundred  and  forty  were  left  as  prisoners  of  war 
in  Brest. 



"  WHY  did  you  Germans  destroy  Louvain  ?  " 

"  Louvain  ? "  said  the  man  from  Mannheim.  "  Re- 
member Heidelberg!  War  is  war." 

"Heidelberg?"  I  recalled  vaguely  that  over  a  hun- 
dred years  ago  the  German  university  town  was  burned 
by  the  French.  "What  has  Heidelberg  to  do  with  it? 
This  is  the  twentieth  century." 

"  The  twentieth  century  has  grown  from  the  nine- 
teenth, and  the  nineteenth  from  the  eighteenth,  and  the 
eighteenth  from  the  seventeenth,  and  the  seventeenth 
from  the  sixteenth.  You  must  think  in  centuries  to  un- 
derstand Germany." 

"Sub  specie  czternitatis! "  I  sneered,  quoting  Spi- 
noza's famous  phrase.  "  Under  the  form  of  eternity ; 

We  were  riding  to  Berlin  on  a  military  train  which 
had  come  directly  from  the  battlefields  in  France.  A 
heavy  smell  of  ether  drenched  all  that  one  breathed,  and 
waxen-faced  soldiers,  unshaven  and  dirty,  crammed  the 



little  compartments.  There  was  no  distinction  among 
first-,  second-,  and  third-class  passengers. 

A  splendid  young  Uhlan  wearing  a  wisp  of  mustache 
leaned  negligently  against  a  compartment-door,  his  spur 
scratching  the  panel.  The  front  of  his  green-gray  uni- 
form was  a  clotted  mass  of  what  seemed  to  be  brick 
dust:  it  was  dried  blood.  Infantrymen  with  bandaged 
heads,  bandaged  arms,  bandaged  legs  or  bandaged  shoul- 
ders, blocked  the  narrow  aisles  and  lay  on  the  floor  be- 
tween the  seats.  A  soldier  with  his  jaw  shot  through 
breathed  noisily.  Occasionally  some  one  groaned  through 
clenched  teeth  as  he  shifted  his  position. 

These  men  were  only  slightly  wounded.  .  .  . 

The  man  from  Mannheim  had  never  heard  of  Spinoza, 
but  he  knew  his  Kant  and  Karl  Marx  and  the  new 
Freud  psychology.  "  You  must  think  in  centuries  to  un- 
derstand Germany,"  he  repeated  doggedly. 

At  every  station,  women  from  the  Red  Cross  came  to 
meet  the  soldiers  with  hot  bouillon,  hot  coffee,  stretchers, 
and  ambulances;  and  at  almost  every  station  we  picked 
up  new  recruits,  mostly  officers,  just  being  called  to  the 
colors.  They  came  in  brand-new  uniforms  with  shining 
swords  at  their  sides,  invariably  accompanied  by  friends 
who  cheered  them  and  called,  "  Bravo !  bravo !  congratu- 
lations ! "  as  the  train  pulled  out  of  the  station. 

In  Hanover  two  women,  who  seemed  to  be  mother 
and  wife  of  a  young  hussar  just  starting  for  the  front, 


were  at  the  station  to  see  him  off.  He  was  all  smiles, 
but  the  women  were  in  agony.  They  fought  to  keep 
their  self-possession.  The  mother's  fingers  clawed  holes 
in  the  handkerchief  she  held  in  her  hand  to  wave  as  her 
boy  left  her,  and  the  wife's  lips  trembled  as  she  tried  to 
say  the  happy  nothings  which  would  be  everything  in 
the  world  to  her  soldier  in  the  field.  They  smiled  to 
the  very  last  minute,  and  when  the  train  started  and  the 
young  officer  leaned  far  out  of  the  window,  laughing 
back  at  them  and  waving  his  handkerchief,  they  shouted 
after  him,  "  Congratulations !  congratulations !  God 
bless  you !  Congratulations !  "  .  .  . 

The  man  from  Mannheim  sighed  heavily.  "  Genera- 
tion after  generation  they  have  done  that  in  Germany: 
century  after  century.  Do  you  understand  ?  " 

There  was  an  air  of  heroic  happiness  about  our  train. 
Every  time  another  train  passed  we  were  cheered  and 
waved  at;  car-windows  flew  open;  men,  women,  and 
even  children  leaned  out,  calling,  waving,  and  smiling — 
always  smiling.  Factories  and  canals  were  idle,  but  the 
land  was  alive.  Everywhere  peasant  women,  in  bright 
red,  green,  or  yellow  costumes,  worked  in  the  rich  har- 
vests. Children,  even  six-year-old  youngsters,  picked  up 
potatoes.  Baby-carriages  were  common  conveyances. 

Two  troop-trains  went  by  us,  west-bound  for  France, 
and  their  loud  "  hurrrrrrahs  "  were  electric  with  feeling. 
Little  boys,  dressed  in  diminutive  uniforms,  perfect 


even  to  spiked  helmets  and  miniature  swords,  hung 
from  the  windows  of  houses  to  shake  German  flags  in 
salute,  and  little  girls  in  the  turnip  and  potato  fields 
called  shrilly  as  we  went  by.  It  was  a  continuous  ova- 
tion. To  come  home  wounded  was  to  come  in  triumph, 
and  ether  and  bandages  and  painful  mutilations  were 
forgotten  in  the  joy  of  such  a  welcome. 

So  we  reached  Berlin.  The  broad  platforms  of  the 
Friedrichstrasse  Bahnhof  were  crowded  with  eager  men 
and  women  awaiting  the  arrival  of  our  train.  It  was  a 
confusion  of  laughter,  happy  tears,  the  tight  grip  of 
hands,  smiles,  furtive  touching  of  the  weeks'  growth  of 
beard  on  military  chins,  men  kissing  men,  and  shouts  of 
" Gepdcktrdger!  Gepdcktrdger!"  The  porters — forty- 
five,  fifty,  sixty  years  old,  all  of  them — hobbled  about 
collecting  the  luggage.  Red  Cross  workers  crowded  up 
to  take  charge  of  the  wounded.  Soldiers,  in  every 
variety  of  uniform,  stood  waiting  for  other  trains;  some 
of  them  in  neat,  clean,  brand-new  outfits  with  yellow 
boots  that  squeaked  as  they  walked,  and  with  sprigs  of 
green  in  their  gun-barrels ;  others,  just  back  from  the  bat- 
tles in  East  Prussia,  in  muddy,  war-worn  uniforms 
which  they  had  fought  in  and  slept  in  and  traveled  in 
without  change,  knapsacks  on  their  shoulders,  rifles  at 
their  hips.  It  was  a  crowd  shifting  like  quicksilver,  and 
every  face  smiling.  Even  the  sixteen-year-old  Spree- 
wald  Mddchen  in  charge  of  the  news-stand  laid  down 
her  knitting  to  watch. 


Among  the  first  to  leap  down  from  the  train  was  a 
tall  Prussian  Uhlan  on  furlough.  He  had  been  fighting 
under  von  Hindenburg  in  the  East  and  von  Kluck  in  the 
West,  he  told  us.  "  Such  luck !  "  as  he  expressed  it.  He 
bounded  to  the  platform  like  an  athlete,  although  I  knew 
he  was  wounded;  stood  stiff  for  a  moment,  clicked  his 
heels,  saluted  with  an  abrupt  mechanical  snap  of  the 
forearm  which  is  the  very  perfection  of  impersonal,  un- 
emotional recognition ;  then  flung  his  arms  out  like  a  lit- 
tle boy  about  the  shoulders  of  a  gray-bearded  giant  in 
general's  uniform,  and  kissed  him  like  a  girl. 

That  nineteen-year-old  boy  wore  over  his  heart  the 
Iron  Cross  of  1914.  The  man  he  kissed  wore  the  Iron 
Cross  of  1 870*7 1.  .  *  . 

"His  father^  his  grandfather,  his  great-grandfather 
and  great  great-grandfather  fought  the  French.  We 
Germans  remember  in  centuries,"  the  man  from  Mann- 
heim said. 


Consciousness  of  history  seemed  the  most  vivid  feature 
of  wartime  Germany.  Men  talked  of  the  religious  wars 
of  three  centuries  ago  as  if  they  had  been  fought  in  our 
lifetime.  They  talked  of  Napoleon  as  of  a  contempo- 
rary, and  of  the  sorrows  of  the  medieval  and  modern 
Germanic  states  with  the  fervor  and  poignant  suffering 
of  a  citizen  of  those  bygone  days.  Jean  Paul  Richter 


or  Theodor  Korner  have  not  painted  the  humiliations  of 
old  Germany  with  more  skill  and  feeling  than  the  Ger- 
man-on-the-street  in  1914.  It  was  like  a  loyal  son 
telling  of  the  sufferings  and  hardships  of  a  devoted 

One  pleasant  afternoon  I  called  on  Baron  von 
Nimptsch,  president  of  the  Berlin  branch  of  the  New 
York  Life  Insurance  Company,  in  his  offices  at  the 
corner  of  Leipzigerstrasse  and  Wilhelmstrasse. 

:<  You  cannot  understand  our  militarism  ?  "  he  asked. 
"  Listen !  Century  after  century  the  Fatherland  of  the 
Germans  was  fought  over,  burned  over,  plundered  and 
pillaged  over,  from  the  time  of  Caesar  until  Prussia 
emerged  to  lead  the  Germanic  Federation.  Germany's 
trade  history  is  a  long  history.  It  is  no  nineteenth  cen- 
tury discovery.  The  Hanseatic  merchants  of  Hamburg, 
Bremen,  and  Liibeck  were  famous  when  the  English 
still  were  pirates.  During  the  Thirty  Years'  War,  from 
1618  to  1648,  Germany's  population  fell  from  nineteen 
millions  to  four  millions.  Before  that  war  we  Germans 
had  a  culture  higher  than  France  or  England.  Every 
vestige  of  it  was  lost.  That  is  the  explanation  of  our 

"A  century  ago  came  Napoleon.  The  city  of 
Konigsberg  only  recently  paid  off  the  last  of  the  assess- 
ments levied  on  her  in  Napoleon's  day.  That  is  the  'ex- 
planation of  our  militarism. 


"  The  thought  of  a  helpless  Germany  is  intolerable  to 
Germans.  To  survive  at  all,  we  have  to  be  strong.  To 
survive  at  all,  we  have  to  give  up  what  you  Americans 
call  your  '  personal  liberty.*  We  must  obey.  We  must 
organize.  We  must  be  ready  to  fight  for  our  lives  and 
the  life  of  our  country.  And  that  is  German  militarism." 

A  few  nights  later  I  was  guest  at  a  weekly  meeting 
of  one  of  the  innumerable  artistic  circles  of  Berlin — 
one  of  the  little  groups  of  painters,  sculptors,  and  their 
friends  who  meet  on  Friday  evenings  about  long  tables 
in  Charlottenburg  for  beer  and  conversation.  Some  of 
the  men  and  women  about  me  bore  famous  names;  all 
had  amiable,  healthy,  florid  faces ;  all  were  cosmopolitans 
by  education  and  training.  The  men  were  over  military 

"  Prosit  \ "  said  my  host. 

Twelve  of  us  lifted  our  mugs  and  drank  solemnly. 

My  nearest  neighbor  glanced  at  me  and  frowned. 
"  Germans  observe  measure  in  everything,"  he  said  re- 
provingly ;  "  even  in  drinking  beer.  The  first  drink 
should  empty  the  mug  down  to  the  hasp  of  the  handle; 
the  second  to  the  boss  of  the  mug;  the  third  to  the  bot- 
tom. You  have  only  sipped  your  beer." 

I  liked  the  idea  of  classic  measure  in  beer  drinking, 
and  we  discussed  it  solemnly.  "  Measure  is  everything. 
Restraint.  The  *  golden  mean/  Order.  Discipline. 
That  is  the  German  way,"  they  said,  when  a  clenched 


fist  struck  the  table  beside  me  a  tremendous  thump.  My 
beer  splashed  from  the  mug,  and  the  crackers  flew.  The 
fist  descended  again  and  again,  and  an  agonized  voice 
repeated  " Nein!  Nein!  Gottl  It  cannot  be!  It  cannot 

"  What  is  it?    What  has  happened?  "  I  asked. 

"  One  of  our  friends,  a  sculptor,  a  member  of  this 
Circle.  We  have  just  heard  that  he  has  been  killed.  He 
volunteered  three  weeks  ago." 

The  group  buzzed  with  unhappy  conjecture.  "  It  is 
horrible!  Horrible!  Ein  bildlicher  Mensch,  a  German 
genius,  shot  down  by  the  Cossack,  the  Jap,  the  Indian, 
the  Nigger.  This  is  England's  work.  Oh,  it  is  horri- 
ble! Horrible!" 

I  realized  with  unpleasant  astonishment  that  German 
discipline  and  restraint  hid  oceans  of  vast,  wild  feeling, 
uncritical  and  elemental;  that  the  intellectual  and  phys- 
ical order  of  the  Empire  was  built  upon  these. 

"  See !  "  The  man  at  my  right  drew  a  pencil  from  his 
pocket  and  nervously  sketched  on  the  tablecloth  a  little 
map.  "  It  is  very  small,  our  civilization,"  he  explained. 
"  Here  is  Germany,  and  Scandinavia,  Holland,  England, 
America.  That  is  all.  France  and  Italy  have  another 
culture.  Theirs  is  Latin ;  it  is  decaying.  All  the  rest  of 
the  world  is  barbarisch.  The  Russians,  the  Japanese, 
Africa,  Spain,  South  America— all  that  is  barbarisch. 
There  is  only  this  little  island  of  our  civilization,  and  we 
are  fighting  to  the  death  to  save  it." 


"But  France?"  I  remonstrated.  "The  whole  world 
loves  France." 

"  France  ? — la  grande  nation  is  always  hysterical. 
Think  only  of  the  Caillaux  trial.  On  July  twenty-sixth 
the  French  newspapers  talked  of  nothing  but  that  dirty 
case;  one  week  later  we  were  at  war.  In  France  every- 
thing is  done  with  uproar  and  outcry — immer  mit  Ge- 
schrei.  One  morning  in  Paris  I  was  awakened  by  horrid 
noises  in  the  street.  Men  screamed  and  fought.  They 
ran  in  and  out  of  the  hotel.  They  bawled  from  the  win- 
dows. They  cursed  and  wrestled  on  the  sidewalks,  and 
howled — immer  mit  Geschrei.  It  was  all  because  an 
Englishman  had  won  the  Gordon  Bennett  cup ! " 

"  And  Italy  ?  "  A  strapping,  sunburned  artist  at  the 
far  end  of  the  table  took  up  the  story.  He  had  come 
that  day  from  Rome.  "  Italy  is  a  kindergarten  full  of 
naughty  children.  They  sob  and  squall  and  squabble 
like  four-year  olds. 

"  A  few  nights  ago  in  a  Roman  restaurant  an  Italian 
soldier  jumped  to  his  feet  in  the  midst  of  the  dinner  and 
cried,  '  Viva  I' It  alia!  Viva  la  Serbia!  Viva  la  Francia! 
Viva  I'lngleterra! — our  friends!  Down  with  the 
Tedeschi!  Down  with  the  barbarous  Germans ! ' 

"  I  arose,"  the  artist  continued.  "  I  took  a  table  nearer 
the  speaker,  and  when  the  excitement  had  died  down  I 
stood  up  close  to  him  and  called  on  all  the  other  Ger- 
mans in  the  room  to  stand.  A  dozen  big,  muscular  fel- 
lows got  up.  They  were  splendid! 


"'What  do  you  think  now,  Signer  Soldier?'  I  cried 
to  the  disturber. 

"  *  Ah,  pardon,  pardon,  Signor !  I  did  not  mean  it ! 
I  did  not  know ! ' 

"  So  the  little  fool  apologized/'  the  narrator  ended 

They  had  spoken  of  Frenchmen  and  Italians  as  a 
Southern  colonel  might  speak  of  negroes.  It  was  not 
simply  the  historical  antagonism  between  Romantic  and 
Teutonic  peoples,  it  was  the  physical  feeling  of  repulsion 
which  a  Southerner  feels  in  discussing  racial  amalgama- 

In  fertile  ground  like  this  the  war  spirit  grew  un- 
checked. The  theaters  played  to  crowded  houses,  and 
the  theme  was  always  war.  "Die  Waff  en  her!" 
"  Deutschland  uber  dies!"  "  Kriegsbilden"  "Mem 
Leben  dem  Vaterland"  "  Ein'  feste  Burg  ist  unser  Gott" 
Schiller's  "  Wdlenstein's  Tod/'  and  "  Wilhelm  Tell," 
were  advertised  on  all  the  pillar  posts,  and  I  heard  at 
the  Deutsches  Opernhaus  the  first  performance  of  Engel- 
bert  Humperdinck's  opera  "  Die  Marktenderin,"  with  the 
old  Prussian  Marshal  Bliicher  as  hero. 

The  famous  theatrical  manager,  Max  Reinhardt, 
wished  to  produce  Shakespeare,  but  considering  the  in- 
tense bitterness  of  feeling  against  England  and  things 
English  he  laid  the  matter  before  the  German  public -for 
arbitrament.  The  Berliner  Tageblatt  of  Sunday,  Sep- 


tember  twenty-seventh,  was  favored  with  the  following 
letters : 

"  Shakespeare  belongs  to  the  whole  world." 


"  First,  we  are  fighting  the  living  and  not  the  dead. 
Second,  the  majority  of  men's  masterpieces  belong  to  the 
whole  world  of  culture  and  not  exclusively  to  their  father- 
land. Third,  Shakespeare  especially  has  for  more  than  a 
century  been  so  far  incorporated  in  our  German  flesh  and 
blood  that  we  may  consider  him  our  own.  Proof:  any 
production  of  Max  Reinhardt's." 

Burgermeister  Geheimrat  GEORG  REICKE. 


But  Germany's  racial  and  historical  dogmas  tired  me 
by  their  reiteration.  All  men  thought  alike,  all  men 
spoke  alike.  The  intellectual  mobilization  was  too  per- 
fect. I  longed  for  revolt  and  self-criticism,  so  I  tele- 
phoned to  the  Reichstag  to  Dr.  Karl  Liebknecht,  the 
famous  Socialist  leader,  to  whom  I  had  letters,  in  order 
to  make  an  engagement  with  him  to  talk  over  the  Social- 
ist situation. 

The  gentle-voiced  telephone  operator  interrupted  me. 
"  Sie  miissen  aber  Deutsch  sprechen,  Herr.  Es  ist  ver- 
boten  English  zu  sprechen." 

"  I  beg  pardon,  Fraulein"  I  answered  lamely ;  "  but 
I  don't  speak  German  very  well " 

Her  answer  was  in  perfect  English.  "  Perhaps  I  can 
translate  for  you,  sir,"  she  said  coldly.  .  .  . 


Twenty  minutes  later  a  police-detective  visited  my 
room  to  examine  my  passports  and  papers.  He  was  pro- 
fuse in  his  apologies  for  disturbing  me,  and  bowed  him- 
self out  with  deep  regret  for  the  trouble  he  had  caused 

The  incident  rankled.  "Why  is  it?"  I  demanded  of 
Herr  Nicholas  Arps,  as  we  walked  down  the  Dorotheen- 
strasse  on  our  way  to  visit  soup  kitchens.  "Why 
do  you  Germans  submit  to  so  much  police  interfer- 

His  delicate  face,  with  the  deeply  graven  lines  about 
the  dark  eyes  and  mouth,  looked  at  the  moment  like  a 
saint's  carved  from  wood  in  the  confession-stall  of  a 
cathedral.  Like  thousands  of  sensitive  men  in  all  lands, 
the  war  was  visibly  breaking  him  to  pieces.  He  suffered 
night  and  day  from  horrible  dreams.  He  wanted  to  go 
as  a  volunteer,  but  his  weak  heart  made  that  impossible. 
Besides,  he  was  over  the  age-limit.  But  he  shouldered 
a  rifle  daily  and  stood  from  one  o'clock  until  five,  guard- 
ing a  railroad  bridge  in  Charlottenburg. 

"  We  must  have  police.  We  must  obey.  We  trust  our 
Government  because  it  is  wiser  than  we  and  because  it 
does  better  for  us  than  we  can  do  for  ourselves.  That 
is  what  you  will  see  today  in  the  soup  kitchens.  Your 
country  is  so  different  from  ours  that  you  do  not  yet 
understand  the  virtue  of  obedience.  We  must  have 
police;  we  must  have  soldiers. 

"  But  where  is  a  policeman  now  ?  "  he  added.    "  We 


must  ask  our  way  to  the  Kinder-V olkskuchen.  Do  you 
see  a  policeman?" 

There  was  no  blue-coat  in  sight,  and  I  could  not  re- 
member having  seen  one  since  I  had  left  the  hotel.  We 
were  in  the  midst  of  the  old  Ghetto  of  Berlin — a  place 
so  clean  that  it  shone,  but  the  poorest  part  of  the  city. 
In  New  York,  it  would  have  swarmed  with  police.  .  .  . 
The  Jews  were  preparing  for  their  New  Year,  and  all 
about  us  was  activity  and  a  happy  stir. 

"  See  the  prices  for  food  and  clothing,"  said  Herr 

"They  are  lower  than  in  Holland  or  America,"  I 
said,  and  I  told  him  laughingly  of  my  trunk ful  of 
Erbsenwurst,  condensed  soups,  and  egg  powder,  which 
I  had  brought  from  America  for  fear  I  should  starve 
in  Germany.  I  could  have  bought  them  more  cheaply  in 
Berlin  than  in  New  York.  ..."  But  we  must  find  the 
way  to  the  Kinder-V  olkskuchen" 

We  questioned  several  passersby.  None  could  tell  us 
where  the  children  of  the  poor  could  receive  free  meals 
thrice  a  day.  The  need,  apparently,  was  not  great. 
Block  after  block  we  walked  where  formerly  stood  the 
most  hateful  rookeries  in  Germany.  There  are  no 
slums  in  Berlin.  Everywhere  were  clean,  wide  streets, 
tenements  with  open  courtyards  so  sunlight  and  air  could 
reach  all  the  windows,  and  window-boxes  of  asters  and 
geraniums  to  brighten  the  view.  We  wandered  past  the 
unfinished  theater  which  the  German  Socialists  are 


building— the  Neue  Freie  Folksbiihne—a  marvelous 
monument  by,  for,  and  of  the  working-people;  made 
without  a  penny  of  help  from  the  upper  classes. 

"  There  are  no  more  Socialists  now,"  said  Herr  Arps. 
"There  are  only  Germans." 

"  And  I  am  half  inclined  to  think  there  are  no  more 
policemen,"  I  retorted.  "  That  one  who  visited  me  this 
morning  was  the  last  of  his  race." 

'  There  has  been  a  marked  decrease  in  crime  since  the 
war  began." 


"  But  it  is  strange  that  we  cannot  find  a  policeman." 

An  awkward  squad  was  drilling  behind  a  high  board 
fence,  and  a  sharp,  high-pitched  voice  shouted  orders. 
Over  a  little  butcher-shop  was  an  advertisement  of  fresh 
horse  cutlets.  The  pillar  posts  at  street  corners  adver- 
tised theatrical  offerings  and  what  seemed  an  endless 
series  of  educational  advantages:  trade  schools,  night 
schools,  art  schools,  manual  training  schools,  technical 
schools,  kindergartens — all  as  if  it  were  peace  time. 
But  everywhere  one  felt  the  presence  of  the  paternal 
Prussian  state.  The  awkward  squad  consisted  of  the 
raw  material  from  which  the  Imperial  armies  are  made ; 
the  butcher-shop  was  regulated  by  the  State;  the  the- 
atrical offerings  were  censored  by  the  State;  the  schools 
were  subsidized  and  coerced  by  the  State.  The  Kaiser's 
photograph,  and  cheap  post-cards  of  Kaiser,  Kaiserin, 


Crown  Prince,  Bismarck,  Hindenburg,  Hasler,  and 
Zeppelin  were  in  almost  every  window.  Confectionery 
shops  were  arsenals  of  sweets,  where  candies  shaped  like 
cannon  balls,  shot,  cartridges,  bullets,  and  packed  in 
boxes  decorated  with  the  national  black-white-and-red, 
or  made  in  odd  shapes  like  Uhlans'  helmets  or  forty-two 
centimeter  shells,  could  be  bought  at  astonishingly  low 

It  was  nearly  half  an  hour  before  we  caught  sight  of 
the  familiar  blue  uniform  of  a  guardian  of  law  and 
order.  He  knew  exactly  where  we  should  go;  in  fact, 
he  took  us  to  the  door.  On  the  way  we  remarked  on 
the  lack  of  police  protection.  "  Yes,"  he  said,  "  the  peo- 
ple are  good.  We  do  not  need  so  many  policemen.  Ger- 
mans are  comrades  and  brothers." 

The  Kinder-V olkskuche  was  about  an  open  courtyard, 
behind  a  diminutive  lawn  decked  with  formal  flower- 
beds. Its  dining-room  was  tiny  but  immaculate.  Only 
eight  children  were  being  served  as  we  talked.  The 
women  in  charge  explained  that  there  was  provision  for 
many  more,  but  there  was  no  need.  "  It  is  as  in  peace 
time,"  they  said. 

In  a  nearby  beer  garden,  beside  a  huge  brewery,  we 
found  a  Red  Cross  soup  kitchen  for  adults.  One  hun- 
dred and  fifty  men,  women,  and  children  stood  in  line  at 
the  door,  where  a  volunteer  worker  passed  them  inside. 
The  children  and  some  of  the  women  carried  pitchers  in 
which  to  take  the  provisions  home.  Most  of  the  adults 


ate  inside.  They  were  surprisingly  neat  and  clean ;  their 
pressing  poverty  obviously  was  new.  Yet  I  learned  that 
sixty  thousand  were  then  being  fed  in  Berlin,  and  that 
in  peace  time  the  number  is  about  thirty  thousand. 

Upstairs  we  went  with  the  line  of  the  destitute.  Each 
of  the  women  and  most  of  the  men  bore  with  them  little 
books  in  which  stamps  were  affixed  for  every  day  the 
man  of  the  house  had  been  at  work.  The  day  when  the 
stamps  left  off  was  usually  the  day  when  charity  began, 
for  the  poor  have  no  opportunity  to  lay  up  reserves  in 
Germany  or  anywhere  else.  They  accepted  the  prof- 
fered help  cheerfully  and  as  their  just  due,  without  ob- 

The  director  of  the  soup  kitchen  was  Herr  Held,  a 
Reichstag  deputy;  big-boned,  healthily  florid,  and  as 
proud  of  the  kitchen  as  a  father  of  his  household.  His 
helpers  were  women  volunteers.  In  Germany  the  role 
played  by  women  of  the  leisure  classes  did  not  seem  im- 
portant. Knitting  for  the  soldiers,  nursing,  and  amateur 
relief  work  alone  seemed  to  be  allowed  them.  Herr 
Held  and  his  assistants  ate  with  the  soup  line,  and  Herr 
Arps  and  I  joined  them  at  a  little  table  with  a  heaping 
platter  of  liver  hash,  boiled  potatoes,  a  thick  slice  of 
bread,  and  a  glass  of  water. 

"  But  you  have  no  police  here,"  I  remarked. 

Herr  Held  beamed  at  me  as  he  dipped  into  his  hash. 
"  Not  since  the  beginning  of  the  war,"  he  said.  "  See, 
all  is  clean  and  quiet  and  orderly.  We  have  forty-five 


hundred  people  every  day,  but  never  a  disturbance.  That 
is  because  of  the  war.  Rich  and  poor,  we  are  one;  all 
Germany  is  one ;  there  are  no  more  Socialists ;  there  are 
no  more  revolutionists.  Germans  all  are  sisters  and 


Berlin,  the  flat-faced,  heavy,  portentous  parvenu 
among  cities,  was  completely  possessed  by  the  devil  of 
war.  The  mark  of  the  sword  was  on  everything. 
Among  the  quiet,  serious  crowds  which  thronged  the 
downtown  streets  during  afternoons  and  evenings,  and 
which  overflowed  into  a  few  uptown  avenues,  every 
fifth  man  was  a  soldier.  And  the  civilians  never  tired 
of  the  sight.  They  paid  each  uniform  the  flattering  at- 
tention of  staring  as  if  it  were  the  first  they  had  ever 
seen.  There  was  worship  in  their  eyes.  All  sorts  and 
conditions  of  men  strode  by  in  uniform:  Prussian  gen- 
erals, in  gold  and  gray  and  blue;  a  haggard  military 
doctor,  just  come  from  the  hospitals  and  still  smelling  of 
ether;  dirty,  tired  infantrymen,  just  back  from  the  firing- 
line  in  East  Prussia,  limping  along  in  the  gutter;  a 
Jdger  in  Alpine  green  uniform,  with  a  green  feather  in 
his  peaked  cap ;  aristocratic  hussars  in  uniforms  of  blaz- 
ing red,  marching  along  erect  as  automatic  dolls ;  an  offi- 
cer of  the  famous  Death's  Head  Hussars,  a  white  skull 
grinning  down  from  his  black  shako,  and  the  cords  across 
his  breast  pulsing  as  he  walked ;  companies  of  drab,  mid- 


die-aged  Landsturm  marching  down  the  street;  a  crack 
regiment  of  the  Guard  doing  the  "  goosestep  "  at  the  cor- 
ner of  Unter  den  Linden,  and  smacking  the  pavement  un- 
til the  streets  echoed  like  a  forest  under  volley  fire;  a 
squad  of  Red  Cross  workers  marching  in  civil  dress,  each 
wearing  his  little  white-and-red  arm-band  and  each  carry- 
ing a  tiny  satchel ;  cavalrymen  riding  by  like  centaurs  on 
coal-black  horses ;  a  new  regiment  off  for  the  railway  sta- 
tion, with  band  blaring  and  colors  snapping  in  the  wind ; 
an  adjutant  in  a  gray  military  automobile  with  a  horn  that 
boomed  like  a  cannon ;  wax-faced  convalescents,  by,  ones, 
twos,  half-dozens,  dozens,  walking  the  streets  to  get  the 
air,  limping  painfully  or  guarding  a  bandaged  arm  or 
shoulder  or  head  from  the  jostlings  of  the  crowd.  Then, 
like  a  travesty  of  all  these,  twenty  small  boys,  in  impro- 
vised uniforms,  with  spiked  caps,  wooden  swords,  and 
an  ingenious  wooden  cannon  mounted  on  a  gun-carriage 
which  would  lower  and  raise  and  pivot  about  like  a  real 
field-gun,  marching  down  the  Friedrichstrasse  with 
patriotic  flags  and  a  drum. 

If  two  soldiers  talked  together  in  the  street,  they  im- 
mediately attracted  a  circle  of  respectful  listeners.  If  a 
single  soldier  walked  along  in  the  gutter  where  the  side- 
walks were  overcrowded  he  was  made  immediately  the 
cynosure  of  all  eyes.  Street-cleaners  and  'bus-drivers 
made  way  for  the  soldier ;  pedestrians  nudged  each  other 
to  give  him  room;  in  the  restaurants  he  was  given  the 
best  place.  And  all  these  attentions  seemed  to  be  un~ 


conscious;  certainly  they  were  ungrudging.  They  were 
given  as  if  the  German  soldier  were  obviously  a  superior 
order  of  being. 

I  was  walking  down  Dorotheenstrasse  one  morning 
when  I  saw  the  street  crowds  gathered  on  the  curbs  and 
looking  upward.  There  was  a  soft  purring  sound  in  the 
air — a  new  theme  introducing  itself  into  the  staccato 
music  of  the  traffic — but  the  sea-blue  sky  was  empty. 

Then  I  saw  the  German  army  of  the  air.  A  tre- 
mendous amber-colored  nose  pushed  its  way  across  the 
heavens,  thousands  of  feet  above  our  narrow  canyon  of 
street.  The  nose  became  a  face — eyeless,  mouthless,  ex- 
pressionless— but  still  a  face.  The  face  became  a  head, 
and  the  head  a  great  golden  body,  like  the  woodcuts  of 
Leviathan  in  old  family  Bibles;  then  the  Zeppelin  sailed 
into  full  view. 

A  Bavarian  soldier  standing  beside  me  turned  his 
head  away  and  caught  my  eye.  His  face  was  radiant 
with  happiness.  He  grabbed  me  impulsively  by  the 
shoulder.  "  God ! "  he  said,  and  I  know  the  oath  was 
a  prayer;  "  It's  beautiful!  It's  beautiful!  And  you  can 
bet  your  life  it  will  blow  hell  out  of  anything  the  Eng- 
lish have!" 

One  night  I  was  walking  near  the  Dom — the  mon- 
strous cathedral  which  stands  opposite  the  Kaiser's 
palace — when  I  noticed  a  large  crowd  gathered  about  one 
of  the  exits.  At  least  five  thousand  men  and  women 

A  war  game  in  Berlin. 

Attacking  the  trenches. 


were  thronged  on  the  marble  steps,  overflowing  on  to 
the  sidewalks  and  streets,  and  all  standing  in  absolute 
silence,  waiting.  Their  faces  were  turned  toward  the 
church  porch,  where  the  big  yellow  eyes  of  a  waiting  au- 
tomobile stared  out  at  them  from  beneath  a  marble  arch- 

There  was  a  stir  in  the  dusk  of  the  porch.  An  auto- 
mobile horn,  deep-toned  as  the  bass  in  a  cathedral  organ, 
boomed  out,  and  the  car  began  to  move  down  upon  us. 
The  crowd  slowly  made  way.  Men  bared  their  heads, 
still  silent.  A  large  woman,  veiled  to  the  eyes,  sat 
in  the  tonneau,  bowing  stiffly  to  right  and  left  as  the 
car  crawled  down  the  drive. 

"  Die  Kaiserin — the  Empress,"  whispered  a  woman  in 
front  of  me,  never  taking  her  eyes  off  the  figure  in  the 
car.  A  moment  later,  and  the  crowd  was  dispersing  as 
quietly  as  it  had  assembled. 

There  had  been  no  display  of  enthusiasm ;  not  so  much 
as  a  cheer.  It  might  have  been  a  religious  procession 
which  had  passed.  The  Empress  had  been  like  Augusta 
to  the  temple,  praying  for  the  success  of  the  German 


To  such  a  people  its  army  was  an  instrument,  keying 
up  the  machinery  of  civilization,  giving  direction  and 
purpose  to  myriads  of  whirring  wheels.  The  army  was 


an  essential  part  of  a  conscious  universe  of  order, 
a  universe  in  which  civilized  society  has  con- 
stant drastic  work  to  do,  the  work  we  call  "  civiliza- 

Against  such  a  background,  war  was  a  world  grown 
plastic ;  but  wars  were  only  recurring  incidents  in  history. 
The  killing,  the  maiming,  the  robbery  and  rape  were 
only  a  small  part  of  warfare.  Relatively  few  had  even 
the  chance  to  become  beasts.  Relatively  few  actually 
served  on  the  fighting-line.  Wars  are  actually  fought 
by  minorities;  wars  are  made  by  whole  peoples. 

The  mobilization  and  drilling  of  noncombatants  was 
just  as  important  to  the  German  mind  as  the  drilling  of 
soldiers.  The  whole  strength  of  the  people  must  be 
thrown  into  the  balance.  The  Germans  launched  armies 
as  one  launches  ships,  full  of  profound  faith  that  they 
would  return  to  port  bearing  all  that  the  nation  desired. 
Even  their  jingoism  seemed  moral.  They  shared  none 
of  the  common  Anglo-Saxon  feelings  that  war  is  a  dirty 
business,  soon  to  be  finished,  hands  washed,  and  apolo- 
gized for.  They  felt  none  of  the  mixture  of  pride  and 
shame  which  made  my  English  friends  say,  "  We'll  mud- 
dle through  it  somehow,  I  suppose."  The  year  1914  was 
called  by  the  Germans  "  The  Iron  Year/'  and  the  war 
they  called  the  "  Folk  War."  Every  German  knew  the 
object  of  the  war.  It  was  to  fulfil  the  destinies  of  the 

Significant  of  this  was  the  constant  recurrence  of  the 


phrase  Die  Zukunft — the  Future.  Magazines  and  news- 
papers teemed  with  it,  and  always  in  the  German  future, 
as  in  the  present,  war  had  a  prominent  place.  War  was 
"  the  father  of  all  and  the  king  of  all."  When  Germans 
spoke  of  a  "  lasting  peace  "  they  added,  "  a  peace  for 
forty  years."  Now  it  is  already  more  than  forty  years 
since  1 870*71,  but  with  the  typical  German  habit  of 
thinking  in  centuries  the  seers  were  already  anticipating 
I954>  when  the  old  sad  round  would  begin  again  and 
the  nation  would  draw  a  step  nearer  to  its  sky-topping 

But  Germans  wondered  at  their  own  unanimity. 
Quietly,  irresistibly,  all  life,  all  thought  was  warped  to 
the  one  end  of  making  war.  The  Odeon  Werke,  a  small 
phonograph  factory  which  I  visited,  was  turning  out  one 
hundred  shrapnel  shells  a  day ;  the  canning  factories  had 
accumulated  stocks  to  supply  the  armies  for  four  years, 
yet  they  were  working  at  maximum  capacity.  I  talked 
with  Herr  W.  Tiirke,  manager  of  the  immense  Eckert 
Plow  Factory,  makers  of  agricultural  implements,  three- 
fourths  of  the  product  of  which  is  commonly  sold 
abroad.  "  We  make  nothing  but  munitions  now,"  he  ex- 
plained. "  Our  machinery  was  specially  designed  so 
that  it  could  be  transferred  at  once  to  munition  work. 
There  is  no  such  thing  as  that  anywhere  where  private 
enterprise  persists.  Government  officials  are  absolutely 
in  charge  of  my  factory,  and  they  are  turning  out 
grenades,  shrapnel  shells,  bombs,  pressed-steel  trucks, 


and  ammunition  transports.  You  see,  we  Germans  or- 
ganize victory." 

Another  day  I  spent  with  Herr  Konsul  Marx  at  44 
Charlottenstrasse,  learning  how  the  Germans  withdrew 
their  financial  deposits  in  foreign  countries  before  the 
outbreak  of  the  war  and  thus  were  not  "  caught  nap- 

"  Germany  foresaw  everything,"  he  concluded. 

Industry,  commerce,  finance,  as  much  as  ammunition 
and  armies,  were  looked  upon  as  the  property  of  the  Em- 
pire. And  much  the  same  attitude  was  observable  toward 
the  Kaiser.  Germans  looked  on  him  as  an  asset,  person- 
ally and  politically.  I  remember  one  half-humorous  con- 
versation in  which  I  upheld  the  republican  ideal  and  con- 
demned the  imperial. 

"  We  must  have  the  best  men  in  the  administration  of 
affairs,"  agreed  the  German.  "  You  Americans  get 
them  in  a  republic,  we  in  an  imperial  form  of  govern- 
ment. But  remember  that  if  Germany  became  a  republic 
tomorrow  we  would  go  to  the  polls  and  elect  as  president 
Mr.  William  Hohenzollern.  Don't  laugh!  He  is  our 
greatest  man.  He  understands  us,  and  we  understand 
him  thoroughly.  There  is  an  immense  advantage  to  a 
people  in  watching  their  ruler  from  the  cradle  to  the 
throne.  You  can  never  know  your  American  presidents 
as  we  know  our  German  Emperor." 

It  is  this  same  historical  sense  of  the  Germans  which 
led  them  to  the  theory  of  the  defensive-offense — the 


military  theory  that  one  must  strike  the  enemy  before  he 
is  prepared  in  order  to  defend  oneself  against  him.  And 
it  was  the  acceptance  of  this  theory  by  Socialists  and 
monarchists,  laborers  and  capitalists  alike  which  enabled 
the  German  Empire  to  launch  upon  a  sleeping  world  the 
war  it  had  prepared. 

But  the  silence  of  the  Socialists  seemed  a  profound 
mystery.  The  German  Sozialdemokratie  had  been  fight- 
ing Prussian  militarism  for  years.  Hardly  an  election 
passed  without  increases  in  the  strength  of  the  Social- 
Democratic  party,  in  spite  of  appallingly  unjust  laws  di- 
rectly intended  to  keep  a  large  part  of  the  laboring  class 
disfranchised  and  in  spite  of  a  Socialist  Code  which 
hampered  the  spread  of  the  movement  by  bullying  its 
press  and  breaking  up  its  public  meetings.  When  the 
war  broke  out  the  German  Socialists  had  one  hundred 
and  twelve  deputies  in  the  Reichstag,  all  of  them,  like 
their  Socialist  brethren  the  world  over,  pledged  to 

On  August  first  Socialists  were  called  to  the  colors, 
like  everybody  else;  and  they  responded  without  a  dis- 
senting voice.  On  August  fourth  the  Reichstag  Socialist 
bloc  voted  for  the  war  budget,  and  went  so  far  as  to 
cheer  at  the  toast,  "Long  live  His  Majesty,  the  Kaiser; 
the  people,  and  the  Fatherland! "  Eight  days  after  the 
mobilization  the  Imperial  Union  for  Fighting  the  Social- 
Democrats — a  powerful  organization,  having  locals  in  all 
parts  of  Germany,  and  organized  by  a  general  in  the  Im- 


perial  army  for  the  one  purpose  of  annihilating  the  So- 
cialist movement — this  powerful  Union  disbanded,  de- 
claring that  there  were  no  more  Socialists  to  fight;  that 
all  now  were  Germans  and  brothers ;  and  that  it  was  giv- 
ing its  books,  its  money,  and  its  office  furniture  to  the 
Red  Cross. 

Vorwarts,  the  daily  newspaper  published  by  the  So- 
cial-Democrats, which  had  always  been  anathema  to  con- 
servative Germans,  and  which  had  never  been  allowed 
on  news-stands  in  public  places  such  as  railway  stations, 
subways,  and  hotels,  now  appeared  on  these  news-stands 
cheek  by  jowl  with  the  Berliner  Lokal  Anzeiger — the  in- 
spired organ  of  the  German  Government. 

On  my  way  to  see  Dr.  Karl  Liebknecht  at  the  Reichs- 
tag I  stopped  at  the  Central  Hotel  to  see  if  I  could  buy 

"  We  haven't  it  today,  sir,"  said  the  clerk. 

"  But  you  have  it  on  other  days  ?  " 

"  Oh,  yes,  sir." 

"  Well,  why  haven't  you  the  paper  today?  Have  you 
sold  all  your  copies  ?  " 

"  No/'  the  clerk  explained ;  "  the  Government  forbids 

"Forbids  you  to  sell  it?" 

"  Oh,  no,  sir.  The  Government  has  forbidden  Vor- 
wdrts  to  appear  at  all !  "  And  he  handed  me  a  folded  leaf- 
let on  which  was  printed  in  large  letters : 


To  the  Subscribers  of  "  Vorwarts": 

The  Commander-in-Chief  in  the  Mark  sent  us  the  follow- 
ing notice  Sunday  evening  at  9  o'clock : 

"  The  appearance  of  Vorwarts  is  hereby  forbidden  until 
further  notice." 

(Signed)     VON  KESSEL, 
Berlin,  S.W.  68,  Lindenstr.  3. 

28  September,  1914. 

Editor  and  Manager  of  Vorwarts. 


The  first  floor  of  the  Reichstag  was  full  of  refugees 
from  East  Prussia  and  volunteer  officers  administering 
relief.  It  was  quiet  and  reverential  as  a  funeral.  There 
was  something  strangely  dead  about  the  Reichstag.  As 
I  went  up  to  the  office  of  Deputy  Dr.  Karl  Liebknecht 
I  passed  a  series  of  little  cells  with  doors  marked 
"  Polish  Party  "  and  "  Social-Democratic  Party  "—cata- 
combs of  ambitions  and  hopes. 

But  there  was  nothing  deathlike  about  Dr.  Karl 
Liebknecht.  Son  of  Wilhelm  Liebknecht,  the  famous 
revolutionist  of  1848,  his  own  record  has  been  as  lively. 
In  1907  he  was  sentenced  to  serve  eighteen  months  in 
prison  for  high  treason  because  of  his  book  Militarism 
and  Anti-militarism.  In  1908  he  became  a  member  of  the 
Prussian  Diet;  in  1912  he  was  elected  to  the  Reichstag, 
where  he  rapidly  assumed  a  position  of  leadership  among 
the  Socialist  Deputies;  in  1913  his  charges  in  the 


Reichstag  led  to  scandalous  revelations  which  touched 
even  the  Imperial  Court  and  the  house  of  Krupp. 

I  remember  him  chiefly  as  a  dark  round  face,  semi- 
circled  by  the  sort  of  black  ringlets  which  come  from  a 
hair  mattress;  not  a  keen  face  at  first  glance,  not  the 
face  of  a  man  of  action  apparently;  a  sort  of  pro- 
fessorial, cloistered,  comfortable  face.  One  felt  like 
talking  over  the  college  courses  one  might  take  in  the 
next  semester  rather  than  discussing  the  affairs  of  the 

Then  Dr.  Liebknecht  began  to  speak,  leaning  forward 
over  the  little  table  in  his  private  office.  His  voice  was 
very  musical  and  very  gentle.  He  spoke  German  in  a 
way  to  soften  all  its  angles,  but  what  he  said  contradicted 
the  delicate  tone  in  which  he  said  it. 

"  It  is  a  war  of  lies."  He  looked  me  straight  in  the 
eye.  "  Every  nation  concerned  lies.  The  German  news- 
papers lie  as  a  matter  of  course.  When  the  war  began 
the  Socialists  were  fully  aware  that  it  was  due  to  the 
capitalistic  incentive  of  Austria-Hungary.  We  held 
dozens  of  protest  meetings  here  in  Berlin.  Vorw'drts 
published  stout  editorials.  We  had  demonstrations 
against  the  war.  Then  came  the  censorship.  We  could 
do,  we  could  say,  nothing." 

"But  why?"  I  asked.  "Americans  expected  you  to 
do  a  great  deal." 

"  You  do  not  understand  the  power  of  the  censorship," 
he  said  quietly.  "  You  Americans  cannot  imagine  the 


awful  power  of  the  military.  In  one  day,  in  one  hour, 
we  were  cut  off.  Every  man  became  like  a  separate  cell 
in  the  body  politic.  Every  man  was  isolated  with  his 
own  thoughts  or  else  he  was  drowned  in  the  flooding 
ideas  of  the  war.  From  the  moment  the  censorship  shut 
down  there  was  no  more  exchange  of  ideas.  Every 
thinking  man  in  Germany  became  a  mental  prisoner." 

"But  what  is  the  war  for,  Herr  Doktor?" 

"  It  is  a  war  of  conquest.  Whatever  its  causes  may 
have  been,  we  know  that  the  Imperial  Government  in- 
tends it  to  be  a  war  of  conquest.  There  are  rich  mines 
in  France  and  Belgium.  They  will  never  be  given  back. 
The  Government  will  do  with  them  and  with  us  just  as 
it  pleases. 

"  It  has  done  as  it  pleases  with  all  the  German  people. 
I  am  a  member  of  the  Reichstag.  The  Chancellor  of 
the  Empire  sent  an  ultimatum  to  Belgium  on  August 
second,  1914.  That  ultimatum  was  never  reported  to  the 
Reichstag  until  August  fifth.  The  war  budget  was  pre- 
sented on  August  fourth  and  passed  on  August  fifth, 
with  the  concurrence  of  all  the  Socialists  except  fifteen. 
That  is  abominable  duplicity  on  the  part  of  the  Govern- 
ment. Those  fifteen  Social-Democrats  who  voted  against 
the  war  credits  were  the  only  real  revolutionists.  They 
were  not  for  reconciliation  with  capitalism,  but  for  fists. 

"  But  they  were  helpless.  The  lying  press  was  inflam- 
ing the  people  against  our  enemies — against  the  Russians 
and  the  French  and  the  Belgians  and  the  English.  The 


German  papers  were  flooded  with  stories  of  atrocities 
committed  upon  German  soldiers  which  to  my  certain 
knowledge  were  afterward  disproved  but  never  publicly 
denied.  The  people  were  told  that  the  Russians  were 
barbarians,  the  French  fools,  the  Belgians  superstitious 
weaklings,  and  the  English  cowardly  sneaks. 

"  The  causes  of  the  war  were  obscure.  The  Socialists 
really  thought  that  Germany  could  not  be  responsible  for 
such  a  catastrophe.  Czarism  was  ostensibly  the  issue  on 
which  the  war  began,  and  it  was  on  that  issue  that  the 
Social-Democratic  bloc  voted  the  war  credits  on  August 
fifth.  Nobody  exactly  understood  the  situation.  The 
Socialists  had  lost  their  press  at  one  stroke,  for  the  cen- 
sorship was  absolute,  and  so  they  were  like  sheep  with- 
out a  shepherd." 

"  How  do  you  feel  about  Belgium  ?  "  I  questioned. 

Dr.  Liebknecht's  voice  continued  in  the  same  even, 
professorial  tone.  "  I  was  in  Stuttgart  at  the  time  that 
von  der  Goltz  was  appointed  Governor-General  of  Bel- 
gium. I  tried  to  get  up  a  protest  meeting  against  an- 
nexation. The  military  government  would  not  permit  so 
much  as  a  public  poster  advertising  the  meeting.  Indeed, 
the  Government  forbade  meetings  of  any  sort  for  any 

"  But  you  can  see  that  the  newspapers  are  preparing 
the  nation  for  the  final  annexation  of  Belgium.  '  We 
have  bought  this  province  with  our  blood/  they  argue, 
without  thinking  of  the  Belgian  blood.  '  We  have  paid 


for  it  with  our  lives.  The  Belgians,'  they  say,  '  are  little 
higher  than  brutes.  They  are  completely  dominated  by 
their  clergy,  they  are  ignorant  and  superstitious  and 
backward,  they  do  not  deserve  to  possess  their  own  coun- 
try/ All  such  nonsense  as  that  passes  current  for  wis- 
dom in  Germany  today." 

"  But  what  have  the  Socialists  really  done  about  it?  " 

"  Very  little,"  he  said.  "  Vorwarts  has  been  closed 
twice  and  has  had  to  agree  in  writing  that  it  will  not 
mention  the  class-war.  Here  is  another  example  of  what 
has  taken  place.  My  wife  is  Russian,  and  the  war  had 
barely  started  when  my  house  was  searched,  my  private 
papers  were  seized  and  carted  off,  and  the  sanctity  of  my 
whole  establishment  was  violated  on  the  pretext  that  my 
wife  might  be  a  spy.  And  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  I 
am  a  member  of  the  Reichstag,  not  one  word  of  this  af- 
fair ever  got  into  a  Berlin  newspaper." 

"  But,  Herr  Doktor,"  I  said  doubtfully,  "  you  Social- 
ists seem  to  us  Americans  to  have  lost  a  great  oppor- 
tunity. Frankly,  we  cannot  understand  your  attitude  as 
a  party.  We  think  you  have  been — to  put  it  very  frankly 
— cowardly." 

"You  think  we  have  been  cowards,"  he  repeated 
gravely,  never  taking  his  eyes  from  my  face.  "Well, 
perhaps  we  have  been.  Remember,  the  German  Social- 
Democrats  own  property  worth  more  than  twenty  million 
marks.  They  own  printing-presses  and  halls  and  .the- 
aters and  the  like.  You  know,  property  makes  men 


cautious.  Perhaps  our  possessions  have  made  us  con- 
servative. Perhaps  the  German  Socialists  do  not  dare 
to  risk  all." 

Herr  Karl  Kautsky,  the  veteran  commentator  on 
Marx,  I  found  on  the  top  floor  of  a  Charlottenburg 
apartment-house,  in  a  little  den  crammed  with  books  and 
pleasantly  odorous  of  old  bindings  and  printer's  ink.  His 
face  was  cameo  white,  and  its  expression  scarcely  changed 
throughout  our  talk.  Only  the  dark  eyes  seemed  really 
alive.  His  white  hair  and  white  beard  looked  rather 
like  silken  adornments  for  the  cameo  face;  they  seemed 
to  have  no  relation  to  the  personality  of  the  old  man. 

I  was  irritated  with  Herr  Kautsky,  and  my  attitude 
was  frankly  unsympathetic.  I  was  irritated  with  his 
cautiousness  and  his  bookishness  and  his  air  of  letting 
the  world  go  about  its  business.  That  may  have  been 
because  Herr  Bernstein  was  with  him — a  keen,  obviously 
Jewish  "  intellectual,"  black  as  Mephisto,  who  seemed 
anxious  that  Herr  Kautsky  should  tell  nothing,  and 
whose  every  statement  seemed  to  come  through  double 
lines  of  internal  censors  before  it  reached  his  lips.  A 
copy  of  the  New  York  radical  mazagine  The  Masses 
lay  on  Herr  Kautsky's  table,  and  I  took  its  presence 
as  a  good  omen.  I  was  mistaken. 

"  Did  you  Socialists  make  no  effort  to  stop  the  war  ?  " 
I  asked. 

"  The  party  did  not,"  said  Herr  Kautsky.    "  We  saw 


long  ago,  we  German  Social-Democrats,  that  we  should 
be  powerless  in  the  event  of  war.  The  French  Socialists 
thought  that  they  could  stop  war.  They  talked  of  gen- 
eral strikes  and  immense  movements  for  peace.  We 
German  Socialists  knew  better.  We  had  our  meetings 
of  protest.  There  were  great  Socialistic  demonstrations 
on  Unter  den  Linden  just  before  Germany  declared  war 
on  Russia.  We  had  stirring  protests  in  Vorwdrts.  We 
did  our  best  to  prevent  the  war,  but  we  were  powerless 
the  instant  martial  law  was  proclaimed.  Now  we  can 
do  nothing.  Vorzvdrts  has  been  suspended.  We  have 
no  press,  we  have  no  forum.  We  are  heart  and  soul 
against  a  war  of  conquest,  but  we  cannot  even  protest 
against  the  annexation  of  Belgium." 

"  But  why  did  you  do  nothing  in  the  Reichstag?"  I 

"What  could  we  do?"  said  Herr  Bernstein,  speaking 
slowly  and  gravely  in  English.  "  The  Kaiser  does  not 
ask  permission  of  the  Reichstag  to  make  war.  He  asks 
only  for  money  to  carry  on  war.  When  the  time  comes 
to  make  peace,  he  will  make  peace  without  consulting  the 
Reichstag,  and  the  terms  of  peace  will  be  those  he  ar- 

"  And  so  you  are  not  going  to  do  anything  until 
after  peace  is  made?"  I  asked,  again  turning  to  Herr 

"  We  can  do  nothing,"  he  repeated.  "  We  are  leaders 
without  followers.  There  are  two  million  German  So- 


cialists  in  the  army.  That  means  half  of  our  mem- 
bers are  gone.  No  Socialist  in  Germany  knows  what 
that  half  of  our  party  is  thinking,  no  Socialist  can  be 
sure  what  those  two  millions  think  of  this  war.  We 
cannot  talk  to  them,  we  cannot  even  send  them  letters 
by  the  army  mails.  They  are  cut  off,  isolated,  every 
man  of  them.  Perhaps  they  may  talk  together  by  twos 
or  threes,  but  each  man  is  thinking  alone.  What  do 
they  think?  That  is  the  great  question  for  German  So- 
cialists to  answer." 

I  grew  more  and  more  irritated.  The  atmosphere  of 
caution  and  inaction  seemed  to  me  unworthy  a  man  call- 
ing himself  a  Socialist  and  an  internationalist.  I  blurted 
out  a  rank  criticism  or  two.  Herr  Kautsky  went  on, 
prompted  occasionally  by  the  watchful  Herr  Bernstein. 

"  You  are  an  outsider,"  he  said.  "  The  picture  is  not 
so  black  as  you  may  think.  For  years  we  have  been 
living  under  the  Socialist  Code — laws  framed  by  the  Ger- 
man Government  to  prevent  our  meeting  or  reading  or 
even  thinking.  We  have  learned  how  to  convey  informa- 
tion to  each  other  secretly.  Intelligent  Socialists  are  not 
being  misled  by  the  silence  of  Vorivarts.  Some  are  con- 
fused, no  doubt,  but  not  all,  and  Vorwdrts  will  do  all 
it  can.  We  have  learned  how  to  read  between  the 
lines."  * 

1  See  Appendix  I,  page  327. 



ON  October  second  I  was  invited  by  the  Foreign  Of- 
fice at  76  Wilhelmstrasse  to  interview  the  Imperial  Vice- 
Chancellor,  Vice-President  of  the  Royal  Prussian  Minis- 
try of  State,  and  Secretary  of  State  for  the  Interior, 
Excellenz  Clemens  Gottlieb  Ernst  Delbriick.  The  invi- 
tation was  formal  as  a  summons  to  court.  The  ancestry 
and  offices  of  the  minister  were  recounted;  the  place, 
time,  and  nature  of  the  interview  were  defined;  and  spe- 
cial emphasis  was  laid  upon  the  fact  that  His  Excellency 
had  never  before  discussed  affairs  of  Empire  with  an 

Military  automobiles  in  gray  war-paint  were  flying 
about  the  city  like  hawks ;  black-white-and-red  flags  flut- 
tered from  all  the  public  buildings;  five  Belgian  cannon 
huddled  at  the  base  of  the  bronze  Frederick  Second  on 
Unter  den  Linden;  French  machine-guns  squatted  in  an 
irregular  line  before  the  palace  of  the  Crown  Prince ;  and 
a  dozen  battered  and  dented  Russian  field-pieces  lay  in 
the  gutter  before  the  Kaiser's  Schloss  as  symbols  of  Ger- 
man victory.  On  the  window  glass  in  the  offices  of  the 
Lokal  Anzeiger  were  pasted  bits  of  white  paper  telling  of 
new  successes:  von  Hindenburg's  advance  into  Russia 
and  capture  of  Suwalki,  the  fighting  before  Verdun  in 
France,  and  the  fall  of  the  outer  forts  of  Antwerp. 

The  plain-clothes  watchman  on  guard  at  the  Foreign 
Office  led  me  into  a  tiny  cubbyhole,  where  I  waited  while 


a  cold  autumn  wind  blew  in  from  the  beech  wood 
where  Bismarck  loved  to  walk.  A  lithograph  map  of 
Germany,  a  plain  uneasy  chair,  a  table,  a  window — that 
was  the  reception  room.  For  the  seal  of  the  Iron  Chan- 
cellor was  set  on  the  Wilhelmstrasse.  The  Foreign  Of- 
fice was  as  severe  and  barren,  as  secret  and  as  stout, 
as  any  medieval  donjon  keep.  Men  with  iron  masks 
might  live  there  and  never  a  word  of  them  reach  the 
outside  world.  The  very  air  in  the  offices  seemed  colder 
and  more  mysterious  than  the  usual  atmosphere  of  of- 

After  a  quarter  of  an  hour  the  door  to  my  cell  opened 
and  I  became  one  of  a  group  of  seven  or  eight  press 
representatives,  American,  South  American,  Swiss,  and 
Scandinavian — the  few  neutrals  left  in  the  world! — 
making  my  bow  to  a  chubby,  unctuous  diplomat,  Baron 
von  Mumm  Schwartzenstein,  former  German  Ambassa- 
dor to  Tokio.  The  Baron  had  the  look  and  air  of  a  suc- 
cessful British  banker,  but  he  carried  the  weight  of  the 
world  on  his  rounded  shoulders,  for  he  was  officially  in 
charge  of  all  the  foreign  newspaper  representatives  and 
of  what  they  told  and  did  not  tell  their  journals. 

His  office  was  as  gloomy  as  an  undertaker's  rooms. 
A  few  stray,  level  sunbeams  crawled  under  the  low- 
drawn  curtains,  and  sparrows  chirped  outside.  The  of- 
fice was  decked  with  much  discolored  marble  at  door  and 
hearth,  and  one  caught  a  glimpse  of  what  seemed  to  be 
the  popular  Prussian  painting, — a  muscular  and  very 


blonde  Briinnhilde  trampling  and  spearing  the  breast  of 
a  very  dark  Latin  lady. 

We  were  soon  led  to  another  reception  hall,  where  we 
met  the  Vice-Chancellor,  and  were  quickly  seated  at  a 
green  baize-covered  table.  Before  each  of  us  was  a  pa- 
per pad  and  a  pencil,  and  a  typewritten  abstract  of  what 
His  Excellency  proposed  to  say.  The  gentleman  before 
us  was  a  fine-looking  Prussian  about  fifty  years  old,  with 
sparse  hair,  open  blue  eyes,  a  frank  face,  and  a  friendly 
manner.  He  seemed  like  the  Dutch  uncle  of  fiction. 

As  we  listened  to  the  formal,  scientific  statement — a 
statement  like  a  college  lecture  or  a  seminar  conducted 
by  a  thoughtful  German  professor  at  the  head  of  a  long 
table — I  caught  glimpses  of  the  whole  drama  of  modern 
Germany.  It  frightened  and  weighed  upon  me  like  a  bad 

Behind  us  lay  a  chaotic  congeries  of  States  and  the 
gaunt,  tenacious  emergence  of  Prussia;  the  slow  spread 
of  industrialism  into  Germany;  the  riotous  days  of  1848, 
when  Wilhelm  First  fled  Berlin  for  the  Pfauen  Insel — 
his  Elba;  not  his  Saint  Helena.  The  German  Empire 
slowly  forged  in  the  Prussian  furnace,  shaped  by  the 
Prussian  sword;  the  wars  of  1864,  1866,  1870-71,  and 
the  screaming  burst  of  energy,  industrial,  political,  and 
military,  since  the  Franco-Prussian  War.  It  was  a  pic- 
ture of  a  medieval  political  organization  dowered  with  the 
enormous  wealth  and  power  of  twentieth  century  in- 
dustrialism ;  a  Z Oliver ein  developed  into  high  tariff  walls, 


so  that  the  Fatherland  might  be  industrially  self-con- 
tained; skeins  of  strategic  railways,  Armadas  of  sub- 
sidized shipping,  schools  and  press  subsidized,  censored, 
coerced;  and  more  and  more  mountains  of  ammunition 
for  a  war  which  was  sure  to  come. 

Then  the  dawn  of  "  the  day  " ;  the  military  mobiliza- 
tion,  and  with  it  the  marvelous  industrial  mobilization. 
How  the  crisis  in  the  currency  was  overcome  at  a  stroke ; 
how  there  was  no  moratorium;  how  credit  was  rehabili- 
tated by  the  creation  of  cycles  of  new  banks;  how  local 
and  provincial  employment  agencies  were  consolidated 
into  one  Imperial  Employment  Office;  how  whole  vil- 
lages of  German  fishermen  were  transplanted  from  the 
North  Sea  to  the  Baltic;  how  the  miners  from  the  Sile- 
sian  coal  fields  were  transported  to  the  Masurian  Lakes 
after  Hindenburg's  victory,  to  bury  the  hundreds  of  thou- 
sands of  Russians  sucked  under  in  the  swamps,  where 
acres  of  swollen,  festering  hands  were  stretched  to 
heaven  from  the  stinking  earth ;  how  minimum  prices  for 
grain  and  flour  checked  speculation  in  food;  how  iron 
and  steel,  textiles,  arms,  leather,  and  conserve  industries 
were  centralized  and  controlled  by  the  State;  how  the 
German  people  subscribed  their  four  and  one-half  mil- 
liards to  the  first  War  Loan  as  if  it  were  pennies  instead 
of  marks — and  far  beyond  the  frontiers,  eastward  and 
westward,  avalanches  of  guttural-voiced  men  in  gray- 
green  uniforms,  falling  upon  France  and  Russia  and  un- 
protected Belgium. 


A  Page  from  a  Diary 

Monday,  October  5:  left  Berlin  for  Belgium. 

Tuesday,  October  6:  reached  Antwerp;  arrested  as  a 
spy;  released. 

Wednesday,  October  7:  at  midnight  bombardment  of 
Antwerp  commenced. 

Thursday,  October  3:  at  3.00  P.  M.,  a  12.09  c.m.  shrapnel 
shell  burst  in  house  where  I  was  staying,  completely  wreck- 
ing two  floors ;  nobody  killed. 

Friday,  October  9:  Belgians  and  British  expeditionary 
forces  evacuated  Antwerp.  At  noon  bombardment  ceased, 
after  thirty-six  continuous  hours.  At  2.00  p.  M.,  German 
army  entered. 

Saturday,  October  10:  left  Antwerp  on  foot  and  walked 
through  German  lines  to  Dutch  frontier. 

Sunday,  October  n :  at  3.00  A.  M.,  cabled  story  to  New 
York  from  Rotterdam. 

FOUR  days  after  the  interview  with  Excellenz  Del- 
briick  I  was  in  Antwerp,  the  beleaguered  capital  of  Bel- 

At  Esschen,  a  little  Flemish  town  just  across  the  fron- 
tier from  Holland,  everything  was  in  confusion.  The 
crowded  railway  station  was  vile  with  every  imaginable 



human  stench.  Night  and  day,  for  almost  a  month, 
refugees  had  lodged  in  straw  littered  about  the  floor. 
Poverty-stricken  Belgians  sat  hunched  up  in  the  corners, 
or  sprawled  full-length  in  the  malodorous  pile.  Babies 
screamed  incessantly.  A  few  women  wept.  The  eyes  of 
all  were  red.  In  the  dirty,  narrow  street  behind  the  sta- 
tion stood  fifty  awkward  Flemish  carts  piled  high  with 
bedding  and  furniture  hastily  flung  together  in  the  panic 
of  departure.  Every  one  was  fleeing  toward  Holland. 

"  When  is  the  next  train  for  Antwerp  ?  " 

"  There  is  no  train  for  Antwerp,  monsieur."  The 
sad  blue  eyes  of  the  station  agent  hardened  as  he  stared 
at  me. 

"  Then  I  must  drive  to  Cappellen." 

"  Impossible,  monsieur." 

The  agent  whispered  to  some  one  behind  him.  A  man 
in  a  faded  and  very  dirty  blue  uniform,  with  a  round 
blue  cap,  came  out  and  whispered  to  another  in  the  sta- 
tion. A  curious  group  of  people  crowded  behind  me  to 
listen.  I  could  hear  them  stirring  and  whispering  suspi- 

"  What  is  your  business,  monsieur  ?  " 

"  I  am  on  official  business.  I  must  see  the  American 
Consul  General  in  Antwerp." 

"You  have  papers?" 

"  Of  course." 

The  group  crowded  close.  The  man  in  the  blue  uni- 
form was  at  my  elbow,  breathing  hard  as  if  he  had  been 


running.  It  was  a  ticklish  moment.  I  showed  the  lat- 
ter half  of  my  passport,  bearing  the  round  red  American 
seal;  but  one  part  of  the  pass  I  did  not  show — the  part 
which  read,  "  Gesehen!  Gut  zum  Eintritt  in  das  Reichs- 
gebiet.  Haag,  den  //.  Septbr.,  1914.  Gesehen.  Berlin, 
28.  September,  1914.  Auswdrtiges  Ami  des  Deutschen 
Reichs  Pass-Bureau"  stamped  with  the  eagle-crested 
seals  of  Germany. 

The  harassed  ticket-agent  and  the  bystanders  were 
convinced.  They  murmured  approvingly,  "American! 
Mynheer  is  American ! "  There  would  be  a  train  for 
Antwerp,  perhaps  at  three  o'clock,  perhaps  at  four,  per- 
haps at  five.  Who  knows?  Monsieur  could  wait  where 
he  would. 

This  was  war  I  thought :  sordid,  unhappy,  disorderly ; 
the  fearful  flotsam  of  the  floods  poured  out  from  Berlin. 
It  was  much  more  real  than  the  mechanical  perfection 
which  I  had  seen  in  Germany.  In  Esschen  there  was  a 
hideous  droop  to  the  shoulders  of  every  one,  as  if  they 
carried  unbearable  burdens.  Only  half  a  dozen  children, 
playing  noisily  at  soldiers  with  broomsticks  and  pans  in 
the  cluttered  street  behind  the  station,  seemed  untouched 
by  the  general  misery. 

The  train  came;  late,  of  course.  There  were  perhaps 
a  dozen  passengers,  all  men.  The  little  train  lurched 
painfully  through  timid  towns,  past  neatly  cultivated 
fields  and  forests  where  acres  and  acres  of  trees  had  been 


cut  down  by  the  Belgian  soldiers  and  piled  in  tangled 
heaps,  while  the  naked  stumps,  left  standing  knee-high, 
were  sharpened  wickedly  to  impede  cavalry  charges,  past 
belts  of  barbed-wire  entanglements  stretching  as  far  as 
one  could  see,  past  earthworks  hidden  in  fringes  of 
woods,  past  beautiful  old  chateaux  and  the  country- 
houses  of  millionaire  Antwerp  merchants,  stark  and 
empty  now,  past  high  old-fashioned  bastions  of  forts 
dating  from  Vauban's  and  Napoleon's  day. 

Twice  my  passport  was  examined  by  Belgian  sentries, 
and  twice  I  succeeded  in  concealing  the  German  vise. 

So  at  dusk  we  jolted  into  the  dark  Central  Station  of 


A  few  oil  lanterns  gave  the  only  light  in  the  station. 
People  hurried  by  in  the  darkness  like  ghosts;  they  con- 
versed in  undertones. 

At  the  wicket  I  was  stopped  and  my  passport  de- 
manded. This  time  I  could  not  conceal  the  German 
vise,  and  the  Belgian  official  peered  at  me  in  astonish- 

"  Why  has  monsieur  come  ?  "  I  explained  that  mon- 
sieur is  an  American  redacteur — an  editor.  The  offi- 
cial was  sorry,  but  he  could  not  admit  monsieur  to  the 
city.  But  if  monsieur  were  determined  to  enter?  .  .  . 
A  group  formed  quickly  about  us,  and  their  remarks 
were  not  reassuring.  I  explained  myself  clumsily. 



"Yes,"  said  the  official,  "but  the  seal  of  the  Belgian 
Minister  at  The  Hague  has  been  placed  on  monsieur's 
passport  before  that  of  the  German  Minister.  The  seal 
is  four  weeks  old.  Meanwhile  monsieur  has  been  in 

"True,"  I  acknowledged,  "but  I  am  an  American, 
and  besides  I  have  friends  in  Antwerp  who  can  vouch 
for  me." 

"Monsieur  has  friends?  Monsieur  must  come  into 
the  station  and  wait  for  the  commandant." 

My  two  hours'  detention  in  the  marble  waiting-room 
of  the  Central  Station  was  strange  as  hysteria.  I  was 
thoroughly  frightened.  My  imagination  played  strange 
tricks.  It  tried  and  convicted  me  without  mercy.  It 
sported  with  me  as  cruelly  as  a  cat  does  with  a  mouse, 
and  before  the  bar  of  my  conscience  I  pled  guilty  to 
espionage  in  its  worst  form, — the  pitiless  artistic  desire 
to  witness  catastrophes  where  one  can  be  of  no  assist- 

Ghostly  soldiers,  black-robed  priests,  and  Red  Cross 
nurses  flickered  past  me  in  the  gloom.  There  was  a  ta- 
ble spread  in  a  far  corner  with  great  round  loaves  scat- 
tered upon  it,  and  oil  lamps  shedding  a  little  glow  of 
light  which  made  it  seem  like  a  parody  of  da  Vinci's 
"Last  Supper." 

At  half  past  seven  the  Belgian  colonel  in  charge  of 
the  railway  station  came  to  quiz  me.  He  stood  before 
me  as  stiff  as  a  statue,  and  as  cold. 


"  Your  papers,  monsieur !  "  he  ordered  crisply.  "  Why 
have  you  come  to  Antwerp  ?  " 

"  I  am  an  American  redacteur" 


"  I  am  here  to  study  war  conditions." 


"  You  will  see  from  my  papers  that  I  have  been  in 
Berlin.  It  was  for  the  same  purpose :  to  study  war  con- 


"  I  have  friends  in  Antwerp." 

"  But  when  were  you  in  Berlin  ?  " 

"  I  left  there  yesterday  morning." 

"  Yesterday !  !  !  "  He  looked  at  me  in  amazement. 
"  Yesterday?  "  he  repeated.  "  The  vise  is  dated  Septem- 
ber twenty-eighth,  but  you  were  in  Berlin  yesterday  ?  " 

"  Yes,  mon  Colonel." 

"  I  must  send  you  to  military  headquarters ! "  He 
beckoned  to  a  soldier.  "  Take  mynheer — "  he  began  in 

I  followed  the  soldier  through  the  black  corridors  of 
the  station  and  out  into  the  night.  There  was  not  a 
light  in  the  streets,  for  fear  of  Zeppelins.  Twice  during 
the  month  of  August  the  great  air-craft  had  hung  above 
the  city  and  dropped  bombs,  and  fear  of  them  still  ran 
high.  The  cold  October  sky  arched  over  us  like  a  cave. 
There  were  crowds  about  us.  I  could  hear  them  walk- 
ing in  the  street  and  on  the  pavement.  Occasionally  I 


caught  a  scrap  of  muffled  conversation  in  Flemish. 
Once  there  was  a  suppressed  sob.  Some  one  opened  the 
door  of  a  cafe,  and  there  was  a  sudden  burst  of  light, 
immediately  extinguished  as  the  man  slipped  inside.  I 
heard  a  glass  clink  and  a  girl  laugh,  but  I  could  see 

A  military  automobile  hurriedly  rounded  the  corner, 
and  its  blazing  white  searchlight  illuminated  for  a  mo- 
ment herds  of  scurrying  figures  on  the  avenue. 

Sentries  challenged  us  in  the  dark.  My  guard  talked 
with  them  in  whispers.  We  passed  on.  .  .  . 

Headquarters  consisted  of  several  small,  ramshackle 
buildings,  full  of  little  offices.  No  one  seemed  to  know 
where  I  should  report.  I  went  into  a  little  bare  room, 
half  full  of  lounging  soldiers  who  stared  at  me  curiously, 
then  into  a  second,  and  at  last  to  a  third.  There  a  fine 
young  major,  his  eyes  pathetically  anxious,  examined 
me.  My  guard  watched  in  silence. 

"You  have  been  in  Berlin?" 

"  Certainly.  I  left  there  yesterday  to  come  to  Ant- 


"  To  learn  the  truth  about  war  conditions." 

"Your  papers!" 

I  showed  my  papers ;  all  that  I  had  with  me. 

The  major  evidently  had  had  to  do  with  other  Ameri- 
cans, for  his  next  question  was,  "  Do  you  wish  to  see  the 


"  No,  I  do  not,"  I  said. 

The  major  spoke  in  Flemish  to  a  second  officer.  Then 
he  turned  to  my  guard  and  addressed  him  in  French.  I 
have  never  heard  more  comfortable  words. 

"  It  is  plain/'  he  said  slowly,  "  that  monsieur  is  an 
American.  But  monsieur  must  go  to  the  American  Con- 
sul General  early  tomorrow  morning  and  get  a  paper 
certifying  that  he  is  entitled  to  a  pass  admitting  him  to 
Antwerp.  Monsieur  may  go  now."  And  the  major 
wished  us  a  very  good  night. 

My  soldier  escort  presented  arms,  and  we  marched 
out  into  the  dark.  I  bade  him  and  the  sentries  adieu, 
but  they  would  not  have  it  so.  "  The  night  is  very 
dark,"  they  said.  "  Monsieur  might  lose  his  way."  So 
they  saw  me  safely  to  my  hotel. 


I  woke  at  four  in  the  morning.  Down  the  gray  canyon 
of  street  below  my  window  a  long  procession  of  Belgian 
artillery  pounded  and  rattled  over  the  cobble-stones. 
For  half  an  hour  it  rumbled  and  jolted  past — a  line  of 
dejected-looking  horses  and  silent  men.  Then,  when  it 
had  gone  out  of  ear-shot,  I  heard  far  away  the  boom 

boom boom  boom boom  boom  boom  of  the 

big  guns  in  the  forts. 

Automobiles  full  of  officers,  English  as  well  as  Bel- 
gian, were  flying  about  the  streets  when  I  left  the  hotel 
after  breakfast.  Mr.  Winston  Churchill  had  paid  a  hur- 


ried  call  to  Antwerp  on  the  preceding  Friday,  when  af- 
fairs looked  darkest,  and  an  expeditionary  force  had 
come  from  England  to  the  relief  of  the  Belgians.  The 
force  consisted  of  a  marine  brigade  and  two  naval  bri- 
gades, with  some  heavy  naval  guns  manned  by  a  detach- 
ment of  the  Royal  Navy.  It  numbered  all  told  eight 
thousand  men.  But  the  reinforcement  seemed  singularly 
haphazard.  The  First  Lord  of  the  British  Admiralty 
dashed  into  Antwerp  late  in  the  evening  with  half  a  dozen 
armored  motor-cars,  arriving  unheralded  and  unexpected 
to  take  charge  of  the  situation.  In  the  Hotel  de  Londres 
I  met  a  blithe  young  man  named  Julian  Arthur  Jones, 
son  of  the  English  playwright,  Henry  Arthur  Jones, 
who  told  me  in  whispered  confidence  that  Churchill  had 
brought  sixteen  thousand  first-rate  British  soldiers! 

But  conditions  looked  grave.  The  narrow  Flemish 
streets  still  blazed  with  Belgian,  French,  and  British 
flags,  and  most  of  the  shops  were  open,  but  there  was 
an  alarming  proclamation  on  all  the  pillar-posts,  signed 
by  the  Belgian  General  Deguise. 

ANTWERP,  October  6,  10  P.  M. — The  situation  of  Ant- 
werp is  serious.  Lieutenant-General  Deguise,  commanding 
the  fortress,  has  addressed  this  evening  to  the  burgomasters 
of  the  towns  in  the  fortified  zone  the  following  letter : 

"  I  have  the  honor  to  bring  to  the  attention  of  the  popu- 
lation the  fact  that  the  bombardment  of  the  agglomeration 
of  Antwerp  and  its  environs  is  imminent. 

"  It  is  self-evident  that  the  menace  or  the  execution  of 


a  bombardment  will  have  no  influence  on  the  length  of  the 
resistance,  which  will  be  carried  to  the  last  extremity. 

"  Persons  wishing  to  avoid  the  effects  of  the  said  bom- 
bardment are  requested  to  withdraw  without  delay  in  the 
direction  of  the  north  or  the  north-east." 

The  forts  of  Lierre  fell  on  Tuesday,  October  sixth, 
and  King  Albert,  the  Queen,  and  the  Government  moved 
to  the  town  of  Saint  Nicolas  on  their  way  to  the  coast. 
The  morning  newspapers  were  calm,  but  by  no  means 
reassuring.  People  were  leaving  the  city.  They  hurried 
anxiously  to  and  fro,  dragging  with  them  hastily  packed 
bundles  of  clothing,  hand  satchels,  baby  carriages, 
trunks,  valises,  umbrellas,  and  innumerable  boxes. 
Street-cars  were  crammed  with  refugees  and  their 
goods,  and  outside  the  railway  stations  hundreds  and 
thousands  of  people  crowded  together  clamoring  to  be 
let  inside.  The  rich  left  their  houses  to  caretakers  and 
departed  in  automobiles  and  carriages.  The  poor  went 
on  foot  without  giving  a  thought  to  what  had  to  remain 
behind.  There  was  almost  no  order;  no  direction. 
Wednesday's  exodus  was  already  a  rout. 

Banks  were  mobbed  by  people  clamoring  for  their 
money.  The  gold  reserves  of  the  National  Bank  were 
sent  for  safe-keeping  to  England.  Shops  and  ware- 
houses closed  as  fast  as  they  could.  Hotels  and  cafes 
shut  their  doors  and  barricaded  the  windows.  Citizens 
piled  sand-bags  against  the  cellar-ventilators  of  their 
houses  as  a  protection  against  shells.  People  in  general, 


even  those  who  intended  to  remain  in  Antwerp  come 
what  might,  seemed  unnerved. 

In  the  American  Consul  General's  anteroom  on  the 
top  floor  at  number  24  rue  des  Freres  Cellites,  I  found 
an  excited  assistant  imploring  everybody  who  called  for 
advice  to  get  out  of  Antwerp  as  quickly  as  pos- 

"  What  are  you  going  to  do  ?  "  I  asked. 

"  I  have  to  stay,"  he  answered.  "  But  if  I  were  in 
your  shoes,  I  would  leave  the  city  at  once.  It  is  going 
to  be  bombarded."  His  voice  shook. 

"  I  came  here  to  get  your  vise  on  my  papers,  so  I  can 
stay,"  I  said. 

"  Get  out  of  the  city  at  once !  " 

"  But  I  intend  to  stay.  Surely  there  will  be  plenty  of 
people  who  stay." 

He  stared  at  me  as  if  I  were  a  lunatic ;  then  he  disap- 
peared into  the  inner  offices. 

I  looked  up  one  of  the  Consular  clerks,  and  she  made 
out  a  little  paper  for  me  and  stamped  it  with  a  big  blue 

"  Are  you  going  to  stay  through  the  bombardment  ?  " 
I  asked  her. 

"  Oh,  yes,"  she  said.  "  All  the  Consulate  people  have 
to  stay.  You'll  find  us  here  in  the  cellar  if  they  shell  the 

"  I'm  glad  to  know  that,"  I  answered.  "  I  shall  look 
you  up.  It  will  be  pleasant  to  join  the  American  Colony. 


.  .  .  Auf  Wiederseh'n"  I  added.     "  Oh,  I  beg  pardon. 
That's  German!" 


At  the  Belgian  military  headquarters  things  were  in  a 
chaotic  state.  Weeping  women  and  excited  men  stormed 
the  place  to  ask  advice.  It  took  me  more  than  half  an 
hour  to  find  my  Belgian  major,  and  when  I  found 
him  he  had  no  time  to  make  out  the  formal  pass  for 
me.  Sentries,  orderlies,  and  officers  were  worn  out. 
The  whole  atmosphere  of  the  place  was  one  of  despair. 
I  knew  that  if  I  were  arrested  in  Antwerp  without  a 
pass,  I  might  be  shot  as  a  spy,  but  there  was  too  much 
misery  and  anxiety  at  headquarters  for  me  to  intrude 

I  saw  two  men  arrested  on  the  street  outside  the  mili- 
tary offices.  Fifteen  minutes  later  I  was  told  they  had 
been  shot  against  a  wall. 

I  was  walking  down  street  in  front  of  the  deserted 
royal  palace  and  the  rococo  mansions  on  the  Place  de 
Meir,  when  a  German  Taube  flew  directly  overhead.  It 
was  like  a  beautiful  bird  sweeping  across  the  sky,  but 
the  sight  of  it  terrified  the  crowds  beyond  measure. 
In  less  than  a  minute  the  streets  were  absolutely  de- 
serted. Shops  and  banks  and  hallways  of  private 
residences  were  suddenly  crammed  with  people,  their 
faces  blanched,  eyes  staring  with  horror,  their  mouths 
open.  Antwerp  had  been  terrorized  by  the  Zeppelins,  so 


that  every  one  was  afraid.  The  Taube  flew  serenely 
away,  and  the  streets  gradually  filled  again,  but  people 
walked  closer  to  the  buildings  and  hurried  when  they 
passed  exposed  places. 

Shops  were  rapidly  closing.  By  afternoon,  less  than 
half  of  them  were  open,  and  by  five  o'clock  in  the 
evening  most  of  the  hotels  had  shut  their  doors.  From 

the  southeast  came  the  incessant  boom boom  boom 

boom  of  the  big  guns.    Bombardment  was  imminent. 

Hugh  Gibson,  secretary  of  the  American  Legation  in 
Brussels,  had  gone  through  the  lines  carrying  to  the 
German  General,  Hans  von  Beseler,  a  chart  of  Antwerp 
on  which  were  shown  the  principal  architectural  treas- 
ures, so  that  the  German  guns  might  spare  them  if  pos- 
sible. Belgian  soldiers  by  twos,  threes,  and  half- 
dozens,  weary  and  discouraged,  slouched  along  the  pave- 
ments. Many  probably  were  deserters.  An  English 
major  said  that  it  was  practically  impossible  to  hold  the 
Belgians  to  the  trenches.  They  had  had  their  bellyful  of 
battle,  and  no  wonder !  With  almost  no  help  from  their 
allies,  they  had  borne  the  brunt  of  incessant  attacks  from 
an  invincible  enemy.  Rumors  of  a  great  French  ad- 
vance flew  about  the  city,  and  some  even  believed  that 
the  sound  of  the  cannon  portended  a  Belgian  action  in 
the  rear  of  the  Germans.  But  such  tales  could  no  longer 
buoy  up  the  spirits  of  the  troops.  It  was  up  to  the 
British  expeditionary  forces  to  hold  the  lines,  so  the 
English  major  said.  And  as  evening  fell,  whole  com- 


panics  of  Belgian  infantry  and  cavalry  passed,  all  going 
westward.  Troops  were  being  drawn  off  from 
the  forts;  the  officers  called  it  "making  a  change  of 

Red  Cross  ambulances  clanged  by  bringing  wounded 
to  the  hospitals,  but  those  who  could  walk  from  the  bat- 
tlefields straggled  into  the  city  as  best  they  could. 

In  the  Hotel  Saint  Antoine  on  the  Place  Verte  I 
found  a  group  of  American  and  British  war  cor- 
respondents and  photographers.  Horace  Green  of  the 
New  York  Evening  Post  was  there;  gentle-voiced,  ob- 
servant, and  calm  as  a  Harvard  Crimson  scribe  writing 
up  a  collegiate  lecture.  Julian  Arthur  Jones  dropped  in, 
eager  as  a  cub  reporter  on  his  first  assignment,  and  ex- 
plaining to  all  of  us  what  was  going  on.  And  there  was 
a  mysterious  looking  British  intelligence  officer  named 
Montfort  and  a  number  of  reserve  officers,  lounging 
about  the  lobby ;  for  the  Saint  Antoine  was  British  head- 

"  Are  you  going  to  stick  it  out?  "  asked  Julian  Jones. 

"Yes,"  I  said.    "Are  you?" 

"  My  paper  orders  me  to  stay.  Look  at  this  pile  of 
telegrams ;  fifteen  if  there  is  one,  and  all  came  today,  too. 
Bally  trick,  I  say,  to  order  a  man  to  stay  in  this  hole 
while  the  Germans  capture  it.  I  suppose  I'll  date  my 
next  despatch  to  the  Chronicle  from  the  Kingdom  of 
Heaven;  eh  what?"  .  .  . 

A  thin-faced  Westerner  in  immaculate  riding-breeches 


and  puttees  came  into  the  lobby  and  slouched  down 
wearily  into  a  chair. 

"  Have  you  had  anything  to  eat?  "  I  asked  him  by  way 
of  introduction. 

"  No,"  he  answered  listlessly. 

"  Well,  this  hotel  is  closing.  Come  along  and  let's  see 
what  we  can  find.  My  name  is  Hunt." 

"  I'm  Donald  C.  Thompson,"  he  said,  "  photographer 
for  the  New  York  World.  Guess  I'm  better  known  in 
America  now  than  President  Wilson  is.  I've  been  tak- 
ing the  pictures  of  this  little  war ! " 

I  showed  interest.  "  Are  you  going  to  stay  and  take 
pictures  when  the  Germans  come  in  ?  " 

'You  bet  your  sweet  life!"  exploded  Thompson,  re- 
covering his  animation. 

"  I'm  staying  too.  But  is  there  really  going  to  be  a 
bombardment  ?  " 

"  Yes,"  he  said,  "  you  bet  your  hat  there  is !  Come 
and  stay  at  my  house,  won't  you?  I've  got  a  fine  little 
shack  with  all  you  want  to  eat  and  a  good  bed.  It  be- 
longs to  some  Belgian  friends  of  mine,  but  they've  gone 
to  Holland." 

I  accepted  gratefully.  To  exchange  hotel  quarters  for 
a  home  was  bliss  indeed.  A  hotel  always  seemed  to  me 
a  poor  place  to  die  in.  So  that  night  Donald  Thompson 
and  I  went  to  number  74  rue  du  Peage,  a  pleasant  dwell- 
ing house  near  the  avenue  du  Sud,  which  was  to  be  our 
fortress  during  the  bombardment  of  Antwerp.  A  press 


photographer  for  the  Chicago  Tribune  named  Edwin  F. 
Weigle  and  the  Dutch  Vice-Consul,  Mynheer  de  Meester, 
shared  the  house  with  Thompson.  A  large  American 
flag  hung  over  the  front  door,  and  Thompson's  full 
name  and  New  York  address  were  scrawled  with  indel- 
ible pencil  on  the  white  panels. 

We  climbed  the  darkened  stair  and  lit  a  match.  It  was 
an  attractive  house,  but  the  rooms  were  cluttered  with 
shoes,  clothing,  boxes,  and  bric-a-brac  abandoned  in  the 
hurry  of  departure.  The  beds  were  unmade.  The 
dishes  were  unwashed.  In  an  oven  of  the  big  Belgian 
stove  in  the  kitchen  we  found  a  soldier's  uniform  and 
cap  hastily  crammed  out  of  sight.  Jams,  pickles,  cured 
meats,  soups,  wine,  mineral  water,  a  bin  of  apples,  fresh 
bread,  and  plenty  of  butter  were  in  the  cellar.  We  were 
not  to  starve!  And  best  of  all,  the  basement  was  a 
couple  of  feet  below  the  ground  level,  so  there  would  not 
be  too  much  danger  from  flying  fragments  of  shells. 

A  pile  of  books  lay  beside  my  bed,  and  I  glanced  at 
them  before  putting  out  the  lamp.  They  were  L'Epouse 
du  Soleil,  Cadet  la  Perle,  Quo  Vadis,  Sudermann's  La 
Femme  en  Gris,  and  Ella  Wheeler  Wilcox's  "  Poems  of 
Passion  " !  With  these  incongruous  spirits  to  guard  me, 
I  fell  asleep  with  a  sense  of  comfort  and  security. 



I  was  awakened  by  a  tremendous  roar  and  a  shock 
which  seemed  to  lift  the  house  from  its  foundations.  Im- 
mediately there  came  a  distant  boom!  a  shrill  snarling 
whistle,  then  another  explosion  which  pounded  the  air 
like  storm. 

Boom  -  wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeieieieieiekkkkkkkkkBANG- 
GGGG!  Boom  -  wheeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEIEIEIEIEIE- 
glass  in  the  house  blew  out  in  the  chaos  which  followed 
the  bursting  of  that  fourth  bomb.  It  had  hit  directly 
across  the  street,  less  than  thirty-five  feet  from  where  I 
was  hurrying  into  my  clothes.  I  could  hear  screams  and 
sobs;  then  the  sound  of  people  rushing  by  the  house, 
and  the  crash  of  glass  which  littered  the  sidewalks, 
splintering  to  bits  as  the  people  ran.  But  above  every 
other  sound  clamored  the  continuous  mad-dog  snarling 
of  the  German  shells.  Boom  -  wheeeeeeeeeeieieieieiekk- 
kkBANG  —  boom  -  wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeieieiekkkkkk- 
BANG  -  wheeeeeeeeeeekkboomBANG  -  wheeeeeeeeeee- 
ieieleboomieieikkkkkBANG  -  boom  -  wheeEEEEEEEE 
My  watch  read  12.05,  Belgian  time.  .  .  . 

From  the  cellar  came  a  frightened,  unintelligible 

"Everybody  all  right?"  I  yelled,  strapping  on  my 
belt  of  gold-pieces  and  flinging  on  my  clothes. 


"  All  right ! "  answered  Thompson  shrilly  from  the 
next  room.  "  Y-yes,"  called  Weigle  from  upstairs. 
And  we  bolted  for  the  cellar. 

There,  fully  dressed  even  to  his  overcoat,  was  the  Vice- 
Consul.  His  teeth  were  chattering.  He  stood  ankle- 
deep  in  coke  in  a  small  fuel  closet  under  the  stairs,  which 
we  Americans  had  entirely  overlooked  in  our  inspection. 
A  single  candle-flame  lighted  the  place.  "  Sh-sh-shut 
the  door,"  he  begged.  "  Where  is  the  g-g-g-gas  meter  ? 
We  must  turn  off  the  g-g-g-gas  meter.  It  isn't  safe.  We 
must  turn  off  the  g-g-g-gas  meter.  Where  is  the  g-g-g- 
gas  meter?  "  The  poor  fellow's  state  was  pitiful. 

To  my  astonishment,  the  cannonade  gave  me  an  in- 
tense feeling  of  exaltation.  It  was  like  the  exhilaration 
of  fever.  I  was  convinced  that  we  should  all  be  killed, 
so  I  wrote  on  the  walls  of  our  cyclone-cellar  the  names 
and  addresses  of  Thompson,  de  Meester,  Weigle,  and  my- 
self. My  senses  were  keenly  alive  to  danger,  but  there 
was  a  strange  joy  in  the  thought  that  life  was  to  be  ob- 
literated in  a  mad  chaos  of  flame  and  steel  and  thunder. 
Death  seemed  suddenly  the  great  adventure ;  the  supreme 
experience.  And  there  was  something  splendid,  like 
music,  in  the  incessant  insane  snarl  of  the  shells  and  the 
blasts  of  the  explosions. 

Thompson  and  I  ran  upstairs  and  brought  down  mat- 
tresses and  blankets,  then  we  all  lay  down  side  by  side 
in  the  coke,  with  the  flimsy  door  shut  to  keep  out  stray 
shells.  The  shell  fire  at  first  had  excited ;  now  it  seemed 


to  soothe  me,  and  I  went  quietly  to  sleep.  Occasionally 
I  was  awakened  by  the  Vice-Consul  and  Weigle  arguing 
whether  or  not  we  were  in  the  direct  line  of  fire,  and 
whether  or  not  the  last  shell  had  burst  nearer  our  house 
than  the  first.  Outside,  fugitives  fled  sobbing  along  the 
streets;  but  I  slept,  indifferent  to  them. 

Such  sleep  is  like  drowning.  It  has  the  double  effect 
of  a  stimulant  and  a  narcotic.  Pictures  of  my  past  life 
rushed  out  of  the  dark  in  streams  and  flooded  my  sleep 
with  bright  and  somber  visions.  I  saw  them,  but  I 
slept.  .  .  . 

At  four  o'clock  in  the  morning  Thompson  and  I  left 
the  others  and  went  out  into  the  avenue  du  Sud. 
Refugees,  most  of  them  women,  were  hurrying  by  in 
every  direction,  half -dressed,  only  half  sane,  and  horri- 
bly afraid.  Many,  no  doubt,  were  crouching  in  the  cel- 
lars, but  most  of  the  people  ran.  Old  and  young,  in  little 
coveys  of  fours,  fives,  half-dozens,  dozens,  ran  along  the 
sidewalks,  slipping  and  crashing  over  the  broken  glass, 
making  a  terrifying  and  unearthly  racket  as  they  ran. 
Whenever  a  shell  snarled  unusually  near,  the  groups  fell 
cowering  on  hands  and  knees  against  the  nearest  houses. 
Women  covered  their  heads  with  their  shawls  and  waited 
breathless  and  motionless  for  the  smash  and  roar  of  the 
explosion.  I  saw  a  shell  burst  in  the  avenue  within  a 
few  yards  of  some  of  these  fugitives.  A  woman  dropped 
her  baby  and  ran  on  without  it.  Two  old  men,  dragging 
a  heavy  bundle  of  household  goods  between  them,  aban- 


doned  it  in  the  street  and  fled  screaming.  A  priest  ran 
plump  into  me,  completely  unnerved.  The  shell  had 
struck  just  at  the  corner  of  the  rue  du  Peage  and  avenue 
du  Sud  and  had  torn  a  hole  through  curb  and  cobble- 
stones and  earth  three  feet  deep  and  seven  feet  in 

In  the  house  just  across  the  street  from  ours,  a  shell 
had  gone  into  the  front  door  sill  and  had  blown  out  the 
entire  hallway.  On  our  side  of  the  street,  four  doors 
away,  a  shell  had  burst  in  the  third  story,  completely 
wrecking  the  top  of  the  building.  Only  a  little  farther 
down  the  street  another  house  had  been  hit.  From  the 
south  of  the  city  rose  columns  of  black  smoke,  where  the 
suburb  of  Hoboken  was  burning,  but  so  far  as  I  could 
see  there  were  still  no  fires  in  the  principal  part  of 

I  stood  in  the  middle  of  the  street  and  watched  the 
gray  sky  in  the  hope  of  seeing  a  shell.  The  idea  was 
absurd,  yet  I  felt  an  odd  sense  of  being  cheated  of  part 
of  the  spectacle.  The  air  seemed  full  of  steel.  I  counted 
three  explosions  a  minute:  I  wanted  to  see  something. 
One  could  hear  the  shells  so  easily,  it  seemed  ridiculous 
not  to  see  them.  .  .  . 

Belgian  soldiers  began  to  pass,  hurrying  westward. 
Their  eyes  were  glassy.  Often  they  were  breathless  and 
staggered  as  they  walked.  One  of  them  pushed  into  our 
open  door  and  asked  me  a  question  in  Flemish.  I  caught 
the  word  "  vest,"  and  told  Thompson  the  man  was  cold 


and  was  asking  for  a  waistcoat  to  wear  under  his  uni- 
form. Thompson  brought  the  garment,  but  the  soldier 
shook  his  head.  "  Kleederen" — clothing,  he  said,  and 
he  showed  us  by  signs  that  he  wanted  a  whole  suit.  The 
rout  had  begun.  Soldiers  were  deserting  by  wholesale 
and  attempting  to  escape  from  the  city  in  civilian  dress. 
We  left  our  front  door  open  until  nine  o'clock.  In 
the  panic  of  flight  some  of  the  fugitives  seemed  to  take 
comfort  in  stopping,  if  only  for  a  moment,  in  the  flimsy 
shelter  of  our  hallway,  then  darting  out  on  their  aimless 
course.  Once  or  twice  I  tried  to  talk  with  them  in 
French,  but  they  were  beyond  words.  They  seemed  to 
be  of  all  classes  of  the  population:  well-to-do  burghers, 
dock-dwellers,  servants,  and  peasants. 


Daylight  brought  comfort,  but  the  panic  continued. 
The  exodus  seemed  endless.  Little  carts,  wheelbarrows, 
baby  carriages,  Flemish  milk-wagons  drawn  by  dogs, 
two  or  three  old  cabs,  and  an  occasional  farm  wagon 
piled  high  with  goods,  went  by  us.  Old  men  and  women, 
invalids,  cripples,  and  young  children  were  carried  past 
in  that  ghastly  rout.  I  saw  a  man  with  hideously  de- 
formed feet  and  legs  madly  propelling  himself  along  on 
home-made  crutches.  A  wrinkled  old  woman  came  by  , 
leading  a  cow.  Dogs  were  howling  everywhere.  There 
was  the  incessant  rattle  and  crash  of  broken  glass,  on  the 
sidewalks  and  in  the  streets  as  the  fugitives  stumbled 


past.  But  one  sound  dominated  everything.  It  was  to 
left  of  us,  to  right  of  us,  behind  us,  before  us,  and  over- 
head. It  was  the  smack  and  boom  of  the  big  guns,  and 
the  everlasting  crazy  uproar  of  the  bursting  shells. 

The  air  was  bitter  with  powder  smoke.  Later  I 
smelled  kerosene.  The  Germans  were  shelling  us  with 
shrapnel  and  incendiary  bombs.  Fires  began  to  shoot  up 
in  the  heart  of  our  section.  There  were  heavier  explo- 
sions. A  fifth  house  in  our  block  was  struck,  and  the 
entire  front  was  riddled  with  lead — great  jagged  holes 
showing  in  woodwork  and  bricks  and  plaster.  The 
house  looked  like  a  colander. 

We  did  not  know  it  then,  but  the  bombardment  was 
systematic  as  a  game  of  checkers.  The  city  was  blocked 
off  on  checker-board  charts;  each  battery  was  given  its 
share  of  work  to  do,  its  time  for  rest  and  refreshment, 
and  square  by  square  the  Germans  shelled. 

Hours  dragged  by.  With  methodical  regularity  the 
German  steel  was  pumped  into  the  doomed  city,  except 
for  brief  pauses  once  every  hour,  when  the  artillery  corps 
stopped  to  cool  the  guns.  It  was  almost  amusing  to 
think  of  the  calm  young  Prussian  lieutenants  of  artil- 
lery— the  same  sort  as  those  I  had  seen  in  Berlin  two 
days  before — now  five  miles  or  more  away  from  us, 
quietly  and  unemotionally  directing  that  cyclone  of 
shells.  .  .  . 

Fire  slackened  at  noon  and  we  had  visitors.  Our 
front  door  bell  jangled  violently,  and  in  came  Horace 


Green,  cool  and  collected  as  always,  but  keenly  sensitive 
to  the  horrors  of  the  situation.  He  confirmed  the  worst 
fears  of  Weigle  and  the  Vice-Consul  by  telling  us  that 
our  house  was  in  the  direct  line  of  fire,  and  that  no 
shells  had  as  yet  fallen  in  the  center  of  the  city.  While 
he  was  talking,  the  door  bell  jangled  again.  Thompson 
answered  this  time,  and  I  heard  his  piping  voice  raised 
in  hearty  greeting.  "  Hello,  Jimmie,"  he  yelled,  "  how 
are  you?  Come  right  in.  Glad  to  see  you." 

"  It's  Jimmie  Hare — James  H.  Hare — photographer 
for  Leslie's  Weekly"  explained  Green. 

I  had  never  met  Hare,  but  I  knew  of  him  as  the 
veteran  photographer  of  a  dozen  wars;  seventy-two 
years  old,  they  said,  and  spry  and  bold  as  a  boy.  So  I 
left  Green  and  ran  upstairs.  Thompson  had  vanished 
completely.  There  was  no  sign  of  Hare.  I  went  to  the 
door  and  threw  it  open.  A  German  shell  whizzed  close 
overhead :  the  bombardment  had  commenced  again. 
The  Germans  had  taken  only  half  an  hour  off  for  lunch! 

But  where  was  Hare  ? 

A  little  gray  man,  about  five  feet  tall,  wearing  a  boy's 
cap  and  a  brown  Norfolk  jacket,  was  hopping  about  on 
the  other  side  of  the  street  in  a  litter  of  broken  window 
glass,  bricks,  and  plaster  dislodged  by  the  shells.  He 
had  a  small  black  box  in  his  hand,  and  he  was  sighting 
it  at  the  house.  The  box  was  a  camera.  The  little  man 
was  Hare. 

"Hello!  hello!"  he  yelled  in  the  tone  of  an  enrap- 


tured  camera  fiend.  "Hold  that!  Fine!  Hold  that 
pose !  Duck  your  head  behind  the  door !  Great !  "  He 
pointed  the  camera.  Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeieieieieikkkkkkk- 
BOOM!  ...  A  German  shell  burst  only  a  quarter  of 
a  block  away.  Hare  dodged,  but  kept  the  camera 
pointed.  "  Hold  that  pose !  "  he  yelled  again.  "  Look 
scared !  "  I  obeyed  without  an  effort.  "  Fine !  Great !  " 
he  said  again.  Snap! — the  picture  was  taken,  and  we 
ran  for  the  cellar  together.  .  .  . 

We  learned  from  our  visitors  that  the  American  Con- 
sul General,  Vice-Consul,  and  the  entire  Consulate  staff 
had  fled  from  the  city  to  Ghent.  What  were  we  going 
to  do?  We  were  going  to  stay  in  Antwerp,  and  we  in- 
tended to  remain  in  our  house  until  we  were  burned  out 
or  shelled  out. 

We  had  not  long  to  wait.  Our  visitors  had  scarcely 
left  us,  and  we  were  amusing  ourselves  in  our  little  cy- 
clone cellar,  when  our  billet  arrived.  I  had  just  com- 
pleted a  drawing  of  Weigle  and  the  Vice-Consul  lying  on 
the  coke.  There  was  the  familiar  dull,  distant  boom, 
and  the  snarling  wheeeeeeeieieieiekkk,  but  the  blast  that 
followed  was  exactly  over  our  heads,  and  it  sounded  like 
all  the  thunders  in  the  universe  rolled  into  one.  The 
shell  had  exploded  directly  over  us.  It  seemed  to  bring 
down  half  the  house  about  our  ears. 

Thompson  and  I  raced  upstairs  with  a  bucket  of 
water  in  either  hand,  ready  to  put  out  any  fire  which 
might  have  started.  We  could  not  see  a  thing.  The 

Photograph  by  James  H.  Hare  Courtesy  of  Leslie's  Weekly 

The   author's   head   just  shows   in   the  half-open  door.. 


plaster  dust  was  thicker  than  smoke,  and  the  stairwell 
was  choked  with  debris,  but  luckily  for  us,  part  of  the 
wall  had  been  blown  out,  and  the  air  soon  cleared  suffi- 
ciently for  us  to  take  stock  of  our  situation. 

Two  floors  and  a  part  of  a  third  were  completely 
wrecked;  five  rooms  and  a  hall  in  all.  The  shell  had 
gone  through  three  thick  brick  walls.  In  the  ruin  was  a 
broken  couch,  a  smashed  wardrobe,  shivered  mirrors, 
chairs,  beds,  and  bed  linen,  a  collection  of  stamps,  a 
rosary,  a  crucifix,  and  quantities  of  small,  intimate  pos- 
sessions of  no  intrinsic  worth,  but  great  personal  value. 
The  walls  were  scarred  and  splintered.  There  was  an 
acrid  smell  of  powder  smoke  in  the  air,  gray  plaster  dust 
covered  everything,  but  no  fire  was  visible. 

Our  door  bell  rang  sharply,  and  we  ran  downstairs  to 
find  our  kind  Belgian  neighbors  standing  at  the  door 
with  buckets  of  water  in  their  hands,  all  ready  to  help 
us.  There  was  plenty  of  cowardice  in  Antwerp  during 
the  bombardment,  but  I  think  gratefully  of  the  unselfish 
bravery  of  those  Belgians  in  the  rue  du  Peage  who  were 
so  ready  to  help  the  strangers. 


We  hurried  a  second  time  to  the  top  of  the  house  and 
looked  about  us.  Half  a  dozen  serious  fires  were  blaz- 
ing up  in  our  immediate  neighborhood.  One  of  them 
seemed  to  be  in  our  block.  The  air  was  calm,  but  the 
fires  might  spread.  Dusk  would  soon  be  on  us.  If  we 


intended  to  move  at  all,  we  ought  to  take  advantage  of 
what  daylight  still  remained. 

We  decided  to  move. 

I  was  dirty  and  tired,  and  felt  a  sudden  longing  for  a 
bath.  It  was  the  last  chance  of  soap  and  water,  perhaps, 
for  many  days ;  so  while  the  others  packed  their  motion- 
picture  cameras  and  other  belongings  for  the  trek  north- 
ward, I  sputtered  and  lathered  and  scrubbed  and  rough- 
toweled  to  my  heart's  content.  I  can  remember  few 
more  luxurious  sensations  in  my  life  than  that  steam-hot 
bath  under  fire  of  German  shells.  .  .  . 

The  streets  were  almost  deserted  when  we  began  our 
long  walk  north.  Smoke  obscured  the  sky.  To  some  it 
must  have  seemed  like  the  Day  of  Judgment.  Ruin  was 
everywhere.  An  unbelievable  number  of  houses  in  our 
neighborhood  had  been  struck,  and  wherever  shrapnel 
hit,  half  the  house  had  been  demolished.  Streets  and 
sidewalks  were  plowed  and  pitted.  In  one  of  the 
squares  stood  a  statue  with  its  arm  blown  off  by  a  ball. 
Many  houses  and  shops  were  burning,  but  no  one  was 
paying  any  attention.  The  water  supply  had  been  cut 
off  a  week  before  by  the  Germans;  the  fire  department 
was  demoralized,  and  a  few  houses  did  not  matter  when 
one's  whole  world  was  falling. 

We  came  out  at  last  on  the  water  front  by  the  river 
Scheldt.  Away  to  the  southwest  the  immense  Hoboken 
oil  tanks  were  blazing,  and  tremendous  columns  of  jet- 
black  smoke  were  pouring  up  into  the  gray  sky.  Across 


the  river,  from  the  Tete  de  Flandre,  a  Belgian  fort  fired 
intermittently,  and  from  the  southeast  still  came  the 
boom  and  shriek  of  German  shells. 

Refugees  were  jammed  along  the  quays,  all  trying  to 
get  across  the  pontoon  bridge  to  East  Flanders.  We 
moved  slowly  along  with  the  crowd,  not  quite  certain 
what  to  do.  Fate  decided  for  us.  While  we  stood 
watching  the  fugitives,  the  pontoon  bridge  closed  for  the 
night,  and  thousands  of  unfortunates  who  had  stood 
in  line  for  hours,  hoping  to  cross,  were  driven  back  into 
the  city  again.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  a  retreat  was  in 
progress,  and  the  military  needed  the  bridge. 

First  they  transferred  the  wounded.  Six  thousand 
five  hundred  in  all  were  taken  from  the  Antwerp  hos- 
pitals to  places  of  safety  across  the  river.  Three  hun- 
dred and  fifty,  the  worst  wounded,  were  left  to  the  Ger- 
mans. Down  the  street  from  the  Town  Hall  came  rock- 
ing and  bouncing  twenty  or  thirty  old  double-decked 
Piccadilly  motor-buses.  Even  their  familiar  advertise- 
ments were  still  pasted  on  them,  and  their  London 
destinations.  They  had  come  with  the  British  expedi- 
tionary forces,  and  they  were  returning  filled  with 

Hospitals  were  rapidly  emptied.  Calm-faced  nurses 
in  white  overalls  with  Red  Cross  brassards  on  their 
arms,  black-robed  Belgian  priests,  soldiers,  and  civilians 
helped  in  the  transfer,  and  nothing  was  more  heroic  in 
all  Antwerp  than  the  work  of  the  devoted  Red  Cross 


doctors  and  nurses  who  quietly  removed  the  wounded 
from  hospitals  to  ambulance  under  fire.  There  was 
panic  in  some  of  the  wards.  Mutilated  men  dragged 
themselves  from  their  beds  and  pulled  on  what  garments 
they  could;  they  screamed  and  implored  the  nurses  not 
to  let  them  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  Germans.  Some 
begged  revolvers  so  they  might  shoot  themselves.  And 
in  the  crisis  both  the  English  and  Belgian  nurses  were 
angels  of  mercy  indeed. 

Troops  followed  the  wounded  across  the  Scheldt. 
When  night  fell,  Belgians  and  British  were  marching 
over  the  bridge  by  squads  and  companies  and  regiments. 
Tugboats  puffing  excitedly  to  and  fro  aided  in  the 
transfer.  The  narrow  bridge  of  boats  was  crowded  all 
night  long,  and  the  quay  below  the  Steen — the  pic- 
turesque old  Spanish  fortress  on  the  river's  brink — was 
heaped  high  with  knapsacks,  uniforms,  shoes,  blankets, 
and  other  impedimenta  of  war. 

At  the  Queen's  Hotel,  overlooking  the  Quai  van 
Dyck  and  the  pontoon  bridge,  we  put  up  for  the  night. 
Here  we  found  Green,1  Hare,  Arthur  Ruhl l  of  Collier's 
Weekly,  and  the  British  intelligence  officer.  There  was 
a  little  grate  fire  in  the  hotel  sitting-room,  under  a  shal- 
low glass  skylight,  where  we  gathered  and  talked.  Those 
hours  were  strangely  revealing.  The  nerves  of  the  men 

1  Both  Green  and  Ruhl  are  authors  of  excellent  books  on 
Antwerp :  The  Log  of  a  Non-Combatant,  by  Horace  Green,  Hough- 
ton  Mifflin  Co.,  Boston,  1915,  and  Antwerp  to  Gallipoli,  by  Arthur 
Ruhl,  Charles  Scribner's  Sons,  New  York,  1916. 


were  so  badly  shaken  they  could  scarcely  stand.  Hare 
had  been  arrested  by  a  Belgian  officer  and  narrowly 
escaped  shooting  as  a  spy;  Green  had  had  an  unusually 
close  shave  from  a  shell ;  Ruhl  had  been  in  the  trenches 
and  was  worn  out.  Things  ordinarily  hidden  under  the 
surface  of  life  came  up  that  night  like  bubbles  from  a 
stagnant  pool,  and  perfect  strangers  confided  to  each 
other  their  hearts*  secrets. 

That  night  I  slept  in  room  number  one  in  the  Queen's 
— not  five  hundred  yards  from  the  pier  and  the  pontoon 
bridge — and  my  sleep  was  troubled  all  night  long  by  the 
weary  tramp  of  beaten  men,  marching  to  the  boats  and 
the  possible  security  of  East  Flanders.  The  night  was 
very  cold  and  dark,  except  for  the  ghastly  light  of  the 
burning  buildings.  Antwerp  had  fallen.  This  was  the 
aftermath.  .  .  . 

That  night  Sub-Lieutenant  Rupert  Brooke  crossed 
the  bridge  of  boats.  Insolent  and  beautiful  and  young, 
he  marched  with  his  men,  mercifully  ignorant  that  seven 
months  later  he  was  to  die  of  disease,  not  battle,  in  the 
y£gean.  I  have  wondered  since  if  he  was  then  compos- 
ing the  sonnet  he  called  "  Peace  'V 

"  Now,  God  be  thanked  Who  has  matched  us  with  His 

And  caught  our  youth,  and  wakened  us  from  sleeping, 

1  This  sonnet  is  one  of  five  which  originally  appeared  in  New 
Numbers  and  may  be  found  in  The  Collected  Poems  of  Rupert 
Brooke,  published  by  the  John  Lane  Company,  New  York,  1915. 


With  hand  made  sure,  clear  eye,  and  sharpened  power, 
To  turn,  as  swimmers  into  cleanness  leaping, 

Glad  from  a  world  grown  old  and  cold  and  weary, 
Leave  the  sick  hearts  that  honor  could  not  move, 

And  half-men,  and  their  dirty  songs  and  dreary, 
And  all  the  little  emptiness  of  love! 

"  Oh !  we,  who  have  known  shame,  we  have  found  release 

Where  there's  no  ill,  no  grief,  but  sleep  has  mending, 

Naught  broken  save  this  body,  lost  but  breath; 
Nothing  to  shake  the  laughing  heart's  long  peace  there 
But  only  agony,  and  that  has  ending; 
And  the  worst  friend  and  enemy  is  but  Death." 


At  six  o'clock  Friday  morning  the  pontoon  bridge  was 
blown  up.  It  was  a  magnificent  and  terrifying  specta- 
cle. Fugitives  had  been  pouring  across  in  the  half-light 
of  early  morning.  Later  they  came  flying  back  toward 
the  city  as  fast  as  they  could  run.  The  river  front  was 
lined  with  helpless  hordes  of  people  and  piled  high  with 
things  thrown  away  by  the  retreating  Belgian  and  British 
troops.  Some  of  the  correspondents  were  trying  fran- 
tically to  engage  a  boat  so  they  could  get  out.  The 
Dutch  Vice-Consul  and  Weigle  had  disappeared  utterly. 
It  was  sauve  qui  peut. 

Then  from  the  middle  of  the  bridge  came  the  explo- 
sion. A  sheet  of  flame  leaped  from  the  water;  there  was 
a  deafening  roar,  and  a  rain  of  fragments.  The  river 
was  littered  with  wreckage.  The  crowd  screamed  and 


ran — anywhere,  nowhere — dropped  their  bundles — lost 
their  friends  and  relatives — fell  down  and  clambered  up 
again, — all  the  time  screaming  in  brute  fear. 

There  was  another  burst  of  flame,  another  roar, 
another  rain  of  wood  and  steel.  The  bridge  still  hung 
across  the  stream,  but  it  lay  like  a  snake  with  its  back 
broken.  A  Belgian  gunboat  crawled  near  and  began  to 
hammer  the  floating  barges  with  solid  shot.  The  roar 
of  the  discharges  was  practically  continuous.  The  firing 
was  less  than  fifty  yards  from  us,  and  the  leap  of  the 
flame  from  the  gun  seemed  almost  to  reach  the  pontoons 
where  the  shells  were  striking.  Two  or  three  of  the 
barges  listed  slowly.  Several  sank.  The  remainder 
floated,  a  tangle  of  wreckage,  moored  in  the  rapid  tidal 
current  of  the  Scheldt. 

Down  the  Canal  au  Sucre  came  soldiers  flying  from 
the  battlefields.  Fifty  Belgians  appeared,  then  two  Eng- 
lish Tommies.  Their  despair  when  they  saw  that  the 
bridge  was  gone  was  pitiful.  I  could  not  stay  to  see  if 
they  got  across  in  some  other  way. 

For  Thompson  and  I  retrieved  our  kits  from  the 
Queen's  and  started  off  for  the  American  Consulate. 
We  were  absolutely  alone  now.  Our  friends  had  left  the 
city,  and  only  we  two  were  left  to  see  the  Germans  come 
in.  The  bombardment  had  ceased  temporarily,  although 
we  still  could  hear  the  booming  of  guns  in  the  southern 
forts.  The  Belgian  black-yellow-and-red  flew  high  on 
the  cathedral  tower,  untouched  as  yet. 


A  few  Belgians  were  about  the  streets.  One  of  them 
suddenly  threw  up  his  hands,  spun  half  round,  and  fell. 
He  was  dead  of  apoplexy  before  we  could  reach  him. 

At  the  Marche  aux  Lits,  a  fire,  larger  than  usual,  ar- 
rested us,  and  Thompson  unpacked  his  moving-picture 
camera  and  calmly  cranked  away  until  the  falling  walls 
of  the  shops  compelled  us  to  move  on. 

The  street-corner  shrines  of  the  Virgin,  which  one  al- 
ways associates  with  Antwerp,  were  empty  of  their 
images;  only  the  tinsel  canopies  remained  along  the 
Place  de  Meir.  The  Red  Cross  hospital  was  idle;  the 
palace  was  deserted.  Great  holes  showed  in  the  street 
and  sidewalks  and  there  was  everywhere  the  dreary 
wreckage  of  shops. 

At  the  Consulate  we  found  only  the  Belgian  caretaker 
and  his  wife.  The  American  Consul  General,  the  Vice- 
Consul  and  the  entire  staff  had  left  Antwerp  by  auto- 
mobile the  day  before.  We  were  not  exactly  proud  of 
our  countrymen,  but  in  a  panic  no  one  is  master  of  his 
actions  and  no  one  can  judge  another. 

Soon  the  cannonading  recommenced,  and  panicky 
refugees  came  to  the  Consulate  door  for  protection. 
That  Friday  morning  bombardment  was  the  severest  of 
all,  and  did,  as  we  discovered  later,  the  greatest  damage. 
Yet  right  in  the  midst  of  it  there  was  a  sound  of  car- 
riage wheels  in  the  street  below  the  Consulate  windows, 
the  bell  rang,  and  up  came  the  coolest  person  in  Antwerp. 


"I'm  Mrs.  Ide,"  our  visitor  said.  "I'm  from  Chi- 
cago, and  I  live  here  en  pension.  I'm  not  afraid  of  the 
Germans,  but  he  is." 

"  Who  is  he?  "  I  questioned. 

"  He  is  the  man  who  keeps  the  boarding  house.  He's 
out  there."  Mrs.  Ide  motioned  to  the  carriage.  "  He's 
the  driver.  He  wants  to  be  under  the  protection  of  the 
American  Consul." 

We  explained  our  anomalous  status,  but  added  that 
we  thought  we  could  do  as  Consul  General  and  Vice-Con- 
sul respectively,  and  that  in  any  event  we  intended  to 
defend  Antwerp  from  the  German  invaders. 

"  My ! "  said  Mrs.  Ide  when  we  had  ended  this  rig- 
marole. "  It  sounds  fine  to  hear  good  '  United  States ' 
again  when  we  have  to  listen  to  so  much  German." 
And  she  pointed  skyward,  where  the  shells  were  scream- 

She  had  hardly  gone  when  a  Belgian  refugee  ran  in 
and  begged  protection  of  the  Consulate.  His  sister  was 
American  Minister  Brand  Whitlock's  cook,  he  explained, 
and  the  poor  fellow  had  reasoned  it  out  that  American 
protection  certainly  was  due  the  brother  of  such  a  func- 

All  through  that  unhappy  morning  people  came,  and 
we  gave  them  what  comfort  we  could.  It  was  little 
enough  at  best,  yet  they  were  pathetically  grateful,  and 
I  think  it  did  all  of  us  good  to  stand  for  an  hour  or  two 
in  the  shelter  of  the  American  flag. 



At  noon  the  bombardment  ceased.  It  had  been  practi- 
cally continuous  for  thirty-six  hours.  One  hundred  and 
eighty-one  houses  had  been  destroyed  by  incendiary 
shells,  thirty-one  houses  had  been  partially  burned,  nine 
houses  totally  destroyed  by  explosions,  and  five  hundred 
and  fifty-six  badly  damaged.  How  many  people  were 
killed  or  wounded  I  have  never  learned;  shrapnel  fire  is 
notoriously  uncertain  in  its  results,  but  there  were  about 
twenty  dead  and  wounded  picked  up  in  the  streets  and 
there  must  have  been  bodies  in  the  ruins  of  houses  and 

Friday  morning  the  military  authorities  authorized 
the  city  officials  completely  and  without  reserve  to  nego- 
tiate to  stop  the  bombardment.  General  Deguise  and  his 
staff  had  gone  westward  with  the  army.  Antwerp's  old 
burgomaster,  Jan  de  Vos,  the  Spanish  Consul,  Senator 
Alfred  Rykmans,  and  Deputy  Louis  Franck  presented 
themselves  in  an  automobile  before  the  German  outposts. 
They  were  blindfolded  and  taken  through  the  lines  to 
the  town  of  Contich.  Mr.  Franck  in  his  tall  hat  and 
frock  coat  was  spokesman. 

It  was  a  common  story  in  Antwerp  afterward  that 
the  German  General,  Hans  von  Beseler,  could  not  be- 
lieve his  eyes  when  the  deputation  appeared  before  him, 
for  there  was  not  a  man  in  uniform  among  them !  "  I 
will  not  receive  them/'  he  stormed.  "  I  will  not  treat 


with  civilians.  I  have  conquered  one  of  the  great 
fortresses  of  the  world/'  he  burst  out,  turning  on  Mr. 
Franck,  "  and  a  civilian  comes  to  render  it  up !  You 
come  to  render  it  up ! — a  man  in  a  top  hat !  "  .  .  . 

But  the  citizens  of  Antwerp  did  not  yet  know  that 
their  beautiful  city  had  capitulated.  I  left  Thompson  at 
the  Consulate  and  made  a  rapid  inspection  of  the  center 
of  town.  In  the  Place  Verte  four  big  shells  had 
plowed  into  the  earth,  and  the  cathedral  of  Notre  Dame 
had  at  last  been  struck.  Most  of  Belgian  cathedrals 
are  not  like  Dutch  Protestant  churches — whitewashed 
sepulchres,  with  barnacles  of  shops  about  their  bleaching 
hulls,  so  the  destruction  in  its  neighborhood  had  not 
menaced  the  cathedral  itself.  But  now  in  the  south 
transept,  thirty  feet  from  the  ground,  yawned  a  hole 
four  feet  in  diameter.  I  endeavored  to  find  the  cus- 
todian, but  they  told  me  that  he  had  fled.  Later  I  found 
a  priest  and  a  bystander  named  Peeters,  and  together  we 
searched  for  the  keys.  The  priest  babbled  mournfully  to 
me  of  the  sacrilege  of  the  Germans:  the  mad  ruthless- 
ness  with  which  they  make  war,  the  brutality  with  which 
they  treat  priests  and  nuns,  and  their  impious  vandal- 

At  last  we  were  inside.  The  beautiful  old  cathedral 
of  Notre  Dame  had  stood  inviolate  and  sacred  since  its 
completion  in  1450.  It  held  the  carved  masterpieces  of 
a  host  of  sculptors,  and  the  famous  "  Descent  from  the 
Cross  "  of  Rubens,  but  fortunately  all  the  paintings  had 


been  removed  and  hidden  away  before  the  bombardment 
began,  for  there,  on  the  flag-stones,  directly  in  front  of 
the  high  altar,  I  picked  up  half  a  howitzer  shell — one  of 
the  latest  and  most  terrible  weapons  known  to  men. 
Fragments  of  the  stone  of  which  the  cathedral  is  built 
had  been  blown  one  hundred  feet  away  from  the  spot 
where  the  shell  entered.  Five  sections  of  the  great 
stained-glass  window  in  the  south  transept  had  been  shat- 
tered, another  had  been  completely  demolished,  and  an 
altar  rail  was  gouged  with  shot.  "  What  sacrilege ! 
What  scandal ! "  the  poor  priest  reiterated  in  an  under- 
tone. Our  shoes  gritted  on  bits  of  priceless  stained  glass 
as  we  walked. 

Three  shells  had  struck  near  the  Town  Hall  and  had 
pitted  the  south  side  of  the  building,  but  the  Germans 
had  spared  the  principal  architectural  treasures  of  the 
city.  The  museums  were  untouched. 

New  fires  were  springing  up.  New  fugitives  were 
hurrying  past,  all  going  northward.  But  most  of  the 
population  still  in  Antwerp  waited  with  the  calm  of 
despair  for  the  occupation  by  the  Germans.  No  more 
soldiers  were  to  be  seen,  the  Civic  Guards  had  been  dis- 
banded and  had  disappeared,  and  a  policeman  at  the 
Town  Hall  told  me  the  city  had  surrendered  and  that  the 
Germans  were  about  to  enter. 

I  walked  up  toward  the  avenue  des  Arts.  The  streets 
were  deserted  and  the  city  silent,  except  for  the  snap- 
ping of  flames  in  the  burning  houses.  Suddenly  I  heard 


a  new  sound — low,  insistent,  measured — the  sound  of 
men  marching.  I  turned  a  corner  and  looked.  .  .  . 
There,  coming  down  the  avenue  in  absolute  silence,  were 
the  Germans. 


The  troops  were  advancing  cautiously,  like  men  who 
fear  a  trap.  There  was  no  music,  there  were  no  flags. 
First  came  some  of  the  bicycle  corps,  then  masses  of 
infantrymen  and  a  few  cavalrymen,  then  came  floods  of 
soldiers.  Column  after  column  they  rolled  past,  all  in 
the  gray-green  service  uniform  which  is  the  most  remark- 
able disguise  ever  invented  by  mortal  man.  Line  after 
line  they  tramped  by,  anonymous  as  swarming  bees,  in- 
distinguishable from  the  mass  at  fifty  yards,  stamping 
the  cobble-stones  in  perfect  time,  with  the  remarkable, 
tireless,  springy  march-step  of  the  German  recruit. 
There  were  sprays  of  field  flowers  in  some  of  the  guns, 
and  sprigs  of  green  in  the  soldiers'  coats. 

The  men  glanced  suspiciously  at  the  shuttered  win- 
dows, as  if  they  suspected  that  snipers  lurked  behind  in 
the  darkened  rooms.  One  madman's  work  just  then 
would  have  precipitated  a  massacre  and  the  destruction 
of  the  city.  .  .  . 

Von  Hindenburg  was  still  on  the  offensive  in  Russia, 
and  tremendous  battles  were  in  progress  in  France,  yet 
the  captors  of  Antwerp  were  as  fresh  as  if  they  had  been 
newly  mobilized,  and  they  were  literally  the  flower  of 


the  Kaiser's  armies.  I  did  not  see  a  man  older  than 
twenty-eight,  except  two  officers  who  flew  by  in  a  motor- 

Then  came  what  seemed  to  be  endless  trains  of  artil- 
lery, rumbling  along  behind  the  infantry.  Field  guns 
and  Austrian  howitzers  went  past,  each  drawn  by  six 
splendid  horses,  and  nervous  military  automobiles  ap- 
peared, skirting  the  columns.  Belgian  civilians  began  to 
come  out,  their  curiosity  having  got  the  better  of  their 
discretion.  Several  timidly  gave  directions  to  members 
of  the  bicycle  corps  or  officers  in  automobiles  who 
stopped  to  inquire  the  way. 

Through  the  rue  des  Tanneurs  to  the  Place  de  Meir 
came  another  infantry  column;  but  like  the  first,  it  en- 
tered in  silence,  without  music  and  without  show  of  any 

The  infantrymen  stacked  arms  in  the  streets  and 
rested.  At  the  end  of  every  alley  and  side  street  I  could 
see  frightened  people  peering  out  at  their  masters.  Oc- 
casionally some  one  hurried  furtively  along  close  to  the 
buildings.  Women  wept  and  wrung  their  hands.  A 
few,  perhaps  more  frightened  even  than  the  rest,  ap- 
peared in  side  streets  with  cups  of  coffee  which  they  of- 
fered to  the  Germans.  A  cafe  in  the  Place  de  la  Com- 
mune opened,  and  long  files  of  soldiers  quietly  formed 
and  bought  beer  from  the  trembling  proprietor. 

I  walked  up  to  a  group  of  twenty  German  soldiers  rest- 
ing in  a  little  park,  and  introduced  myself. 


"  Are  you  English?  "  a  young  lieutenant  asked  mildly. 
"  Oh,  no,"  I  said.    "  I  am  an  American." 
" Ach,  so!  ...  Where  are  the  English?" 
"  You  must  not  ask  me,"  I  laughed.    "  Americans  are 

Trains  of  artillery  kept  pouring  in.  Down  along  the 
water  front  beside  the  old  Spanish  Steen,  a  dozen  big 
guns  were  unlimbered  and  began  shelling  the  west  shore 
of  the  Scheldt.  The  pontoon  bridge  was  a  hopeless 
wreck,  and  the  Belgians  had  scuttled  all  available  river 
craft  and  jammed  the  machinery  of  the  canal  locks,  so 
pursuit  by  the  Germans  was  impossible.  They  contented 
themselves  with  shelling  the  rearguards  of  the  retreating 

army.  Boom,  boom boom,  boom,  boom  went  the 

German  guns ;  but  the  weary  population  of  Antwerp  was 
past  caring. 

And  I  found  myself  careless  too.  Now  that  the  thrill 
of  the  bombardment  had  subsided,  I  felt  an  apathetic 
calm.  The  sufferings  of  Belgium  ceased  to  interest  me. 
...  I  looked  up  Thompson,  and  together  we  walked 
leisurely  back  to  our  little  house  in  the  rue  du  Peage  as 
if  we  had  left  it  only  for  a  stroll.  On  our  way  we  saw 
new  ruins  caused  by  the  shells,  and  a  number  of  new  con- 
flagrations. We  picked  up  bits  of  a  shell  which  had 
penetrated  one  of  the  round  towers  of  the  National  Bank 
building,  and  stared  at  the  holes  in  the  Palais  de  Justice. 
Little  house  dogs,  deserted  by  their  masters,  were  scratch- 


ing  and  whining  disconsolately  at  locked  doors,  but  we 
walked  by,  indifferent  to  them.  Our  house  we  found  still 
intact,  although  the  third  and  fourth  floors  where  the 
shrapnel  shell  had  struck  were  little  more  than  kindling. 
The  American  flag  still  hung  protectingly  over  the  front 

We  went  inside.  A  starving  cat  yowled  from  the  back- 
yard, and  we  found  dry  bread  and  sour  milk,  and  fed 
it.  Beside  a  rosebush  in  the  yard  was  a  sunken  spot, 
like  a  grave.  Probably  our  Belgian  hosts  had  buried 
household  treasures  there. 

But  our  curiosity  was  dead.  West  of  us  the  Germans 
were  pounding  away  with  their  field  guns.  Occasionally 
we  heard  dull  reports  which  sounded  like  the  Belgian 
forts  or  the  British  armored  trains  replying.  It  may 
have  been  the  Belgian  troops  blowing  up  their  forts.  At 
intervals  came  the  sharp  crackle  of  infantry  firing  in 
platoons  close  at  hand.  But  we  did  not  care.  We  had 
grown  callous  and  careless  from  the  strain  of  two  days. 


Saturday  morning,  October  tenth,  the  rest  of  the  Ger- 
man troops  about  Antwerp  poured  into  the  city.  They 
entered,  like  their  predecessors,  in  perfect  order  and  in 
silence.  We  two  lonely  Americans  stood  in  the  office  of 
the  deserted  American  Consulate  overlooking  the  rue 
Leys  and  watched  the  line  of  troops  roll  by.  They,  like 
the  others,  were  young  and  fit.  We  did  not  see  Land- 


Sturm  among  them.  They  passed  like  an  army  going 
into  action :  gun  after  gun,  regiment  after  regiment,  Red 
Cross  wagons,  commissariat  wagons,  more  guns,  more 
regiments,  and  still  more  regiments.  It  seemed  to  be  ar- 
ranged especially  for  our  benefit,  and  Thompson  unlim- 
bered  his  moving-picture  camera  and  took  photographs 
of  the  entire  proceeding. 

Belgian  agents  de  police  were  still  at  their  posts,  re- 
inforced now  by  German  sentries.  It  was  interesting  to 
see  how  quickly  the  latter  assumed  the  task  of  cleaning 
up  the  city.  By  seven  o'clock  Saturday  morning,  squads 
of  citizens,  men  and  women,  were  sweeping  the  side- 
walks and  streets  under  guard  of  German  soldiers,  and 
as  I  threaded  my  way  slowly  along  among  the  soldiers 
massed  in  the  narrow  downtown  streets,  I  found  them 
passing  from  hand  to  hand  buckets  of  water  to  put  out 
the  street  fires.  At  the  Marche  aux  CEufs,  Belgian  fire- 
men were  working  on  the  ladders,  German  soldiers  were 
passing  buckets  below,  and  in  one  place  the  soldiers  were 
energetically  engaged  in  working  an  old-fashioned  six- 
man  fire  pump. 

On  the  Vieux  Marche  au  Ble,  soldiers  crowded  into  a 
little  food  shop.  "Ah,  ha,"  I  said  to  myself;  "here's 
where  I  catch  them  looting."  I  wedged  myself  into  the 
shop  in  the  wake  of  a  stocky  private.  The  tiny  space 
was  jammed  with  Germans,  and  the  nervous  proprietor 
was  hacking  away  with  incredible  speed  and  skill  at  a 
huge  cheese.  Sausages,  cheese,  cake  chocolate,  and  bread 


were  what  the  soldiers  were  buying.  The  stock  went 
like  wildfire,  but  not  a  soldier  left  the  shop  without 
paying  for  his  share.  They  paid  in  Belgian  money. 
Some  of  them  had  to  stand  about  for  eight  or  ten  min- 
utes after  they  had  received  their  purchases  before  they 
had  an  opportunity  to  pay,  but  they  paid.  They  were 
more  like  a  crowd  of  picnickers  buying  out  a  rural 
grocery  than  soldiers  of  a  conquering  army  occupying 
the  capital  of  a  kingdom. 

A  dozen  Bavarians  stood  in  the  rue  Aqueduc  listen- 
ing to  the  vituperations  of  an  old  Flemish  woman.  She 
was  berating  them  like  schoolboys,  absolutely  fearless, 
but  they  seemed  to  be  taking  it  in  excellent  humor.  I 
think  they  understood  about  one  word  in  six,  for  the 
Flemish  language  is  just  enough  like  the  German  to  be 
hopelessly  confusing  at  first.  Suddenly  one  of  the  sol- 
diers looked  up  at  the  cathedral  spire,  where  the  Belgian 
flag  had  hung  ever  since  the  tragic  day  that  Germany 
sent  her  ultimatum  to  Belgium.  There,  crawling  slowly 
toward  the  top,  was  the  black-white-and-red  flag  of  the 
invaders.  It  reached  the  peak  and  began  to  flutter  in  the 
light  breeze.  The  soldiers  yelled  delightedly.  "  We 
must  sing !  We  must  sing !  "  shouted  some  one ;  and  the 
long  compact  lines  began  to  chant,  Deutschland,  Deutsch- 
land  iiber  dies. 

German  marines  were  hard  at  work  on  the  wreckage 
of  the  pontoon  bridge  when  I  came  out  on  the  water 


front.  A  line  of  German  cannon  stood  below  the  Span- 
ish Steen,  and  across  the  Scheldt  smoke  rose  lazily  from 
ruins  of  buildings  set  on  fire  by  the  shells.  In  the  moun- 
tain of  debris  discarded  by  Belgian  and  British  in  their 
retreat,  German  soldiers  were  searching  for  serviceable 
trophies.  I  saw  a  soldier  worm  out  of  the  pile  a  brand- 
new  fencing  mask  and  foils.  He  stared  at  them  as  if  he 
had  no  idea  what  they  were  for ;  and  indeed  they  looked 
amusing  enough  in  the  heap  of  uniforms,  rifles,  bayonets, 
cartridge  boxes,  cartridge  clips,  camp  knives  and  forks, 
swords,  and  scabbards  which  lay  scattered  in  disorder 
for  more  than  one  hundred  and  fifty  feet  along  the  edge 
of  the  quay.  Another  German  fished  out  of  the  mass 
a  beautiful  Belgian  presentation  sword.  He  threw  it 
aside  in  disgust.  The  searchers  were  taking  only  service- 
able things — leather  straps,  holsters,  knives,  and  the 

The  old  Steen  loomed  dark  above  them  as  they 
searched.  The  stony  eyes  of  the  tenth  century  seemed 
to  look  very  calmly  on  this  last  taking  of  Antwerp.  The 
Steen  had  seen  many  conquerors:  William  the  Silent, 
Alva,  Farnese,  Marlborough,  Napoleon,  Marshal  Gerard 
— why  worry  over  one  more?  ...  I  walked  up  the 
steep  approach.  A  solitary  Belgian  guard  stood  at  the 
portal,  his  face  haggard  and  his  hands  twitching.  He 
touched  his  cap  to  me  very  gravely.  "  Yes,  monsieur  can 
go  up ;  but  it  is  sad,  very  sad."  "  What  is  sad  ?  "  "  Why, 
what  the  Germans  have  done."  .  .  .  The  antique  door 


had  been  hacked  through  with  an  ax,  the  wrought  iron 
lock  had  been  broken,  and  the  quaint  old  halls  invaded 
in  order  that  men  might  tear  down  the  Belgian  flag 
which  had  floated  there  so  many  years.  All  over  Ant- 
werp, Belgian,  British,  and  French  flags  still  stood,  un- 
touched by  the  conquerors,  but  from  the  cathedral,  the 
Town  Hall,  and  the  summit  of  the  Steen,  Germany's 
black-white-and-red  now  hung  triumphant  in  the  quiet 


I  had  seen  enough.  Thompson  elected  to  stay  in  Ant- 
werp with  his  beloved  cameras,  so  I  set  off  on  foot  for 
the  Dutch  frontier. 

The  streets  in  the  northern  part  of  Antwerp  were 
deserted,  except  for  a  few  weeping  women  and  children. 
I  saw  men  lurking  in  the  alleys,  but  I  did  not  stop  to 
talk  with  them.  Twice  I  saw  American  flags  floating 
over  shipping  still  in  the  river,  but  for  the  most  part  town 
and  river  were  deserted. 

At  the  first  bridge  stood  a  detail  of  German  soldiers. 
"  Is  to  pass  verbotenf  "  I  asked.  "  No/'  they  answered, 
and  I  went  on. 

The  northern  basins  were  crowded  with  barges,  but 
the  locks  had  been  jammed  and  rendered  useless.  What 
small  boats  there  were  had  been  stove  in,  so  that  they 
could  not  be  used  to  set  troops  across  the  river,  but  the 
larger  shipping  was  uninjured.  Along  the  wharves  were 


piled  thousands  of  tons  of  coal  and  grain;  probably  the 
most  valuable  booty  in  Antwerp.  But  the  wharves,  like 
the  streets,  were  deserted. 

People  still  were  fleeing  from  Antwerp.  A  few  bolder 
ones  drifted  back,  evidently  reassured  since  the  firing  had 
ceased,  but  most  were  headed  north.  Many  young  men 
went  by  me  on  bicycles,  pedaling  as  if  for  dear  life.  I 
stopped  two  of  them  and  asked  why  they  were  leaving. 
They  told  me  incoherently  that  if  they  stayed  in  Ant- 
werp they  would  be  sent  away  by  the  Germans  to  fight 
against  the  Russians.  ...  An  old,  old  woman  in  stiffly 
starched  peasant  cap  and  black  gown,  was  borne  along 
in  a  wheelbarrow,  bumping  through  the  ruts  in  the  nar- 
row road.  Her  wooden  shoes  jolted  against  the  barrow 
rim,  and  her  head  nodded  to  right  and  left  as  if  she  were 
a  queen  acknowledging  the  greetings  of  her  subjects. 
Her  face  had  lost  all  human  expression.  It  was  like 
lead,  or  like  ashes.  .  .  . 

Suddenly  I  found  myself  in  the  very  midst  of  fortifi- 
cations. They  were  to  right  of  me,  to  left  of  me,  and  in 
front  of  me, — immense,  silent,  grassy  banks,  scarred 
here  and  there  with  trenches  and  embrasures  and  gray 
concrete  gun-bases.  My  heart  flew  to  my  throat,  for 
those  half -invisible,  silent  works  seemed  far  more  menac- 
ing than  any  number  of  visible  enemies.  The  Germans 
might  be  there,  or  the  Belgians.  In  any  event,  I  had  no 
business  spying  about  the  defenses. 


Then,  for  my  need,  an  old  peasant  appeared.  He 
seemed  like  a  gnome  which  had  popped  from  the  ground, 
for  I  could  have  sworn  the  place  was  empty  a  moment 
before.  He  was  dressed  in  rags,  and  there  was  an  odd 
stubble  of  beard  about  his  leathery  face,  but  he  looked 
intelligent.  He  hobbled  near  and  peered  up  at  me  in 

"  Do  you  speak  French  ?  "  I  asked  uncertainly. 

"  Oh,  yes,  monsieur." 

"  And  will  you  show  me  the  road  to  Holland  ?  " 

"  Gladly,  monsieur." 

The  old  fellow  was  a  natural  philosopher.  He  would 
have  delighted  Voltaire  or  Rousseau.  He  had  thought 
deep  thoughts,  uncontaminated  by  the  influence  of  the 
schools,  and  as  we  walked  he  poured  out  his  wisdom  in  a 
feeble  wheezy  monologue. 

"  The  war  ?  Ah,  monsieur,  the  war,  it  is  a  curse.  But 
then,  much  in  life  is  a  curse,  and  we  must  bear  it  tran- 
quilly. To  live,  that  is  the  important  thing.  Men  fight 
each  other,  cheat  each  other,  steal  each  other's  land,  lust 
for  one  another's  wives — yes,  monsieur,  it  is  true — but 
we  must  live.  We  must  bear  all  tranquilly.  It  is  war. 
It  is  life,  n'est-ce  pas?  " 

We  walked  together  for  a  quarter  of  an  hour  through 
the  lines  of  fortresses  and  saw  not  a  living  soul.  Those 
great  fortifications  of  Antwerp,  the'  impregnable  ring 
which  General  Brialmont  had  drawn  about  the  metropolis 
of  Belgium,  lay  deserted  and  useless  while  an  old  man 


and   a  boy   walked   through   them   and   moralized   of 


I  was  alone  beside  the  Scheldt  again,  sheltered  by  the 
dykes  from  hostile  eyes,  but  the  impulse  to  see  was  ir- 
resistible. I  ran  to  the  top  of  the  ridge  and  looked  back. 
There  was  the  dark  silhouette  of  Antwerp,  the  lace-like 
cathedral  spire,  the  high  buildings  and  factories,  and  the 
low  mass  of  houses.  But  up  from  the  pile  still  rose  black 
columns  of  smoke  to  trouble  the  dark  day.  Antwerp 
still  was  burning. 

Eastward  were  the  green  embankments  of  the  forts, 
westward  the  broad  dark  river,  and  the  reedy  levels  of 
East  Flanders.  But  northward!  .  .  .  Suddenly  I  felt 
as  if  I  had  fled  from  a  nightmare,  as  if  nothing  in  Ant- 
werp had  been  real,  from  my  arrival  and  arrest  as  a  spy, 
through  the  terrible  thirty-six  hours  of  the  bombardment 
and  the  coming  of  the  Germans.  Before  me  were  long, 
level  meadows,  cultivated  fields,  patches  of  wood,  and  lit- 
tle winding  lanes  with  avenues  of  slender  trees,  alder 
hedges,  ditches,  and  lines  of  pollard  willows.  It  was  a 
landscape  to  make  a  painter  shout  for  joy.  Hundreds  of 
cattle  loafed  beside  the  ditches  or  lazily  browsed  in  the 
grass.  Colts  and  young  calves  frisked  about,  utterly  in- 
different to  war.  A  flock  of  small  birds  flew  by  me, 
singing.  Far  away  a  windmill  turned,  and  thin  church 
spires  marked  quiet  villages,  sheltered  in  groves  of 
oaks  and  elms.  Here  there  was  no  wreck;  no  devas- 


tation.      Here   life   was   real.      Antwerp   had   been   a 


But  an  endless  line  of  unhappy  fugitives  moved  north- 
ward through  the  quiet  lanes.  The  flight,  begun  on 
Wednesday,  continued  unabated  on  Saturday.  Some- 
times the  narrow  paved  roadway  was  blocked  with  carts, 
bicycles,  and  people.  High-pooped  Flemish  farm  wagons 
piled  with  goods,  abbreviated  prairie  schooners,  queer 
copies  of  the  Deadwood  coach,  hand  carts,  dog  carts, 
ox  carts — anything  which  ran  on  wheels  or  legs  made 
part  of  that  tragic  procession.1 

A  man  hailed  me  from  the  door  of  a  roadhouse.  I 
shouted  back  that  I  could  not  stop,  but  he  insisted  so 
earnestly  that  I  turned  and  went  to  him.  He  was  a  very 
old  man,  bent  with  rheumatism  and  shrunken  like  a 
ghost.  He  stood  crazily  clutching  the  jamb  of  the  door 
as  he  talked.  To  my  amazement,  he  spoke  English  in 
a  voice  that  thrilled  like  a  trumpet.  He  had  seen  and 
recognized  the  little  American  flag  in  my  coat. 

"  For  God's  sake,  sir,  can't  you  help  us  ?  "  he  cried. 
"You're  an  American,  aren't  you,  sir?  Isn't  America 

*Yet  these  fugitives,  these  "  vluchtelingen,"  as  they  are  called 
in  Flemish,  were  only  part  of  an  age-long  flight.  Flanders  means 
"  land  of  the  fugitives."  A  Fleming — it  used  to  be  pronounced 
"fle-ming" — etymologically  is  a  man  who  has  fled  from  the  old 
German  forests. 


going  to  help  us?  Can't  you  do  something  for  Belgium? 
Don't  you  see  that  something  must  be  done  ?  Surely  your 
country  will  help  us!  Oh,  this  is  a  black  day  for  Bel- 
gium ! " 

If  only  I  had  known  how  America  was  to  help!  If 
only  I  could  have  spoken  with  the  tongue  of  prophecy 
and  told  him  of  the  work  to  be  done  by  the  Commission 
for  Relief  in  Belgium!  But  I  did  not  know;  I  did  not 
know,  and  I  could  not  answer  him  a  word. 

There  were  three  men  whom  I  passed,  pushing  a  hand 
cart.  Half  a  minute  afterward  there  was  a  shout  behind 
me,  and  I  looked  about  to  see  one  of  the  three  running 
toward  me.  He  held  a  bottle  of  light  beer  in  his  hand, 
which  he  insisted  that  I  drink.  The  cart  contained  only 
a  few  household  treasures  and  half  a  dozen  bottles — all 
that  the  man  had  left  in  the  world — but  he  felt  that  he 
must  share  with  the  stranger.  I  drank,  with  tears  in  my 
eyes,  to  him  and  to  Belgium. 

In  all  the  little  towns  along  the  way,  refugees  rested 
in  utter  exhaustion  or  camped  out  under  frail  shelters  in 
lanes,  dooryards,  and  streets.  I  never  before  realized 
how  many  old  people  there  are  in  the  world.  Half  of 
these  refugees  seemed  over  sixty  years  old  and  practically 
helpless.  War  kills  the  old  like  flies.  Life  owed  them  a 
warm  chimney  corner,  a  friend  or  two,  a  pipe  and  a  bot- 
tle; instead  of  these,  it  had  hurled  them  out  into  the 
center  of  one  of  the  most  terrible  cataclysms  of  history 
and  had  chased  them  in  panic  from  their  homes  and 


native  land.  What  such  as  these  suffered  during  the 
reign  of  terror  in  Antwerp  and  afterward  can  never  be 
imagined  or  described. 

Every  ditch  along  the  roadside  was  littered  with 
things  thrown  away  by  the  fleeing  soldiers.  There  was 
no  escape  over  the  river  for  the  garrisons  of  the  north- 
ern fortresses,  such  as  Saint  Philippe,  Oudendyk,  and 
Stabroeck,  so  they  had  joined  the  civilian  fugitives  and 
had  cast  aside  in  their  flight,  uniforms,  side-arms,  wine 
bottles,  and  every  other  sort  of  military  impedimenta. 
Caps  and  uniforms  lay  trampled  in  the  mud ;  empty  bot- 
tles bobbed  grotesquely  in  the  canals;  the  culverts  were 
stuffed  with  refuse;  and  all  the  farmers  in  the  neighbor- 
hood were  salvaging  military  supplies. 

Little  peasant  boys,  their  trousers  rolled  high,  waded 
thigh-deep  in  ooze  and  ditch  water,  fishing  out  clips 
of  cartridges  and  arms,  and  quarreling  over  their 
finds.  .  .  . 

Late  in  the  afternoon  rain  came,  but  the  procession  did 
not  slacken  speed.  Cyclists  went  by  with  heads  down 
and  pedals  spinning.  Weary  horses  and  wearier  men 
plodded  steadily  along  in  the  face  of  the  drizzle.  Abso- 
lute terror  still  was  upon  them.  No  one  thought  of  stop- 
ping for  rest,  for  the  Germans  were  somewhere  behind. 

They  were  in  front  of  us,  too.  The  rain  stopped  and 
some  of  the  fugitives  seemed  to  have  grown  calmer, 
when  down  the  narrow,  tree-bordered  highway  came  a 


huge  military  automobile.  Half  a  mile  ahead  I  saw  peo- 
ple run  out  of  the  road,  jump  the  ditches,  flatten  them- 
selves against  the  hedges,  and  clamber  over  gates  into 
the  turnip  fields.  An  old  man  tumbled  into  a  ditch  and 
lay  motionless,  half  immersed  in  muddy  water.  Panic 
was  on  again. 

The  car  came  thundering  along,  a  great  white  flag 
flapping  from  its  wind-shield,  and  when  it  got  nearer  I 
saw  that  two  German  officers  and  a  civilian  sat  in  the 
tonneau.  The  civilian  was  one  of  the  Belgian  notables 
told  off  to  surrender  the  forts  to  the  Germans,  and  the 
car  had  just  come  from  Fort  Stabroeck.  The  eyes  of 
all  in  the  automobile  were  fixed  on  the  straight  road 
ahead.  I  do  not  think  they  noticed  the  panic  their  pass- 
ing caused.  They  flew  by  without  giving  us  a  glance, 
speeding  back  toward  Antwerp. 


Hours  passed.  Austruweel,  Wilmarsdonck,  Oorderen, 
Beerendrecht,  and  Sandvliet  lay  behind  us.  The  frontier 
could  not  be  far  away. 

In  the  road  ahead  some  one  raised  a  happy  shout,  and 
the  long  line  of  men  and  carts  surged  forward  more 
hopefully.  Half  a  mile  away  appeared  soldiers  and  a 
number  of  wagons  lying  at  the  side  of  the  road.  As  we 
got  nearer,  I  saw  a  little  wooden  sentry-box  beneath  the 
avenue  of  trees ;  still  nearer,  and  a  flag — not  Belgian,  not 
German,  but  the  red-white-and-blue  of  Holland — the 


colors  so  comfortably  like  our  own.  This  was  the  arbi- 
trary, intangible  line  where  war  stopped  and  peace  be- 
gan. A  few  steps  more  and  we  were  standing  in  the 
midst  of  a  group  of  friendly  Dutch  soldiers,  all  wearing 
in  their  caps  the  pompon  of  the  neutral  House  of  Orange. 

Most  of  the  fugitives  crossed  the  line  and  plodded  on 
mechanically  as  if  they  were  blind  and  dumb.  Some 
sank  exhausted  to  the  ground  and  lay  with  faces  buried 
in  the  grass.  A  few  prayed.  Scarcely  any  smiled. 
Panic  still  was  upon  them, — panic  which  they  would  feel 
for  days,  and  dream  of  for  years.  It  was  the  kind  of 
elemental  terror  which  falls  on  a  people  once  in  centuries. 

Piles  of  muskets  lay  in  the  grass,  where  the  fugitive 
soldiers  had  been  disarmed  as  they  crossed  the  border. 
The  Belgians  from  the  northern  forts  had  come  bringing 
arms,  ammunition  wagons,  automobiles,  and  even  field 
artillery  and  regimental  flags,  and  fast  as  they  had  come, 
the  Dutch  had  disarmed  them  and  led  them  away  to  be 
interned  until  the  end  of  the  war. 

Hundreds  of  soldiers  had  entered  Holland  by  this 
road.  While  I  watched,  two  more,  both  infantrymen, 
came  in  from  the  south.  They  were  in  uniform,  torn 
and  battle-soiled,  but  they  had  already  thrown  away 
their  rifles,  and  they  passed  the  frontier  with  eyes  glazed 
and  mouths  agape.  A  sentry  led  them  to  the  side  of  the 
road  and  left  them  there  to  rest.  An  hour  afterwards 
they  came  marching  up  the  highway  under  guard  of  four 


One  of  them  asked  to  speak  with  me,  and  the  guards 
willingly  acquiesced. 

"We  are  prisoners,  monsieur,  until  the  end  of  the 
war,"  the  Belgian  explained.  "  Do  you  think  our  fami- 
lies should  go  to  London  and  wait  for  us  there  ?  " 

"Are  your  families  here?"  I  asked  in  astonishment. 

"  Oh,  yes,  monsieur." 

"  You  brought  them  with  you  ?  " 

"  Oh,  yes,  monsieur.  There  is  my  wife :  there  is  my 
child."  He  pointed  to  a  grief-stricken  little  woman,  sit- 
ting motionless  on  the  ground;  a  three-year-old  boy 
sprawling  beside  her.  "  I  could  not  leave  them  to  the 
Germans,"  the  man  continued.  "  My  comrade  and  I 
went  back  to  our  homes  and  brought  our  families  away 
with  us.  Now  we  must  go  to  the  military  prison  camp 
and  leave  them.  Will  England  care  for  them  if  they  go 
to  London  ?  " 

Would  England  care?  England  must  care!  "Oh, 
yes,  indeed,  England  will  care  for  them,"  I  promised 
with  my  whole  heart  and  soul.  "  Have  no  fear.  Rest 
tranquil.  England  will  care  for  them.  And  when  the 
war  is  over,  perhaps  you  and  they  will  come  to  my  coun- 
try— to  America." 

"  To  America !  "  His  face  brightened  wonderfully. 
"  Monsieur  is  American  ?  'Au  revoir,  then ;  au  revoir.  I 
will  come  to  America.  Some  day  I  too  shall  be  an 
American,  perhaps.  Au  revoir,  mon  compatriote."' 

And  he  and  his  comrade  marched  off  with  their  Dutch 


guards,  leaving  the  grief -stricken  little  wife  and  the 
three-year-old  boy  sitting  motionless  in  the  grass  beside 
the  road. 

A  few  hundred  yards  away  was  a  small  railroad  sta- 
tion where  I  found  two  or  three  hundred  Belgians 
crushed  into  a  tiny  train  waiting  to  start  for  Bergen  op 
Zoom.  Most  of  them  had  sat  in  the  train  since  ten 
o'clock  in  the  morning.  Few  had  eaten  any  food.  There 
were  many  children  among  them,  all  strangely  quiet,  like 
little  frightened  animals,  while  their  elders  whispered 
breathless  stories  of  the  horrors  in  Antwerp. 

"  Oh,  monsieur !  "  A  fat  housewife,  wedged  into  the 
narrow  space  between  a  seat  and  the  car  wall,  was  telling 
the  story.  "  Oh,  monsieur !  It  was  terrific — the  sound 
of  them — the  bombshells.  They  screeched  and  yowled 
and  spat,  like  cats  that  fight  themselves.  Terrible!  I 
ran!  Oh,  how  fast  I  ran!  I  am  breathless  with  think- 
ing of  it.  Oh,  those  bombshells !  Oh,  holy  Mary !  " 

An  old  man  took  up  the  narrative.  "  Yes,  and  in  les 
Jardins  Botaniques  such  sadness!  There  the  keeper  of 
the  menagerie  shot  down  all  the  wild  beasts — all  the  ani- 
mals of  the  jungle — for  fear  they  would  escape  and  bite 
the  poor  people  in  the  streets.  Oh,  it  was  sad,  so  sad! 
When  the  bombshells  began  to  fall  on  the  Jardins,  the 
keeper  took  up  his  gun.  One  by  one  he  shot  them — 
boom!  boom! — the  big  lions,  and  the  wolves,  and  the 
foxes,  and  the  panther,  and  the  spotted  leopard — they 


died,  screaming  horribly.  Then  the  keeper  came  last  to 
the  cage  of  the  brown  bear.  You  remember  the  brown 
bear  in  the  menagerie,  madame? — he  was  so  kind,  so 
gentle.  A  child  could  pet  him.  And  he  had  been  taught 
to  hold  up  his  paws  together,  as  the  priest  does  in  the 
cathedral  of  a  Sunday,  praying. 

"  When  the  keeper  came  with  the  loaded  gun,  this 
bear  put  up  his  paws,  so,  praying  him  not  to  shoot.  And 
the  keeper  burst  out  with  a  great  cry,  and  went  up  near 
to  the  bear,  and  embraced  him  lovingly  through  the  bars 
of  the  cage.  And  then  he  took  up  the  gun — and — boom! 
boom! — he  shot  him." 

"Oh,  but  it  is  sad!" 

"  Yes,  and  so  sad  is  the  howling  of  the  poor  forsaken 
dogs  all  the  night  long  in  Antwerp; — thousands  of  dogs 
abandoned  by  their  masters  and  left  to  starve.  I  cannot 
sleep  for  thinking  of  them,  locked  in  the  empty  houses, 
scratching  and  sniffing  at  all  the  doors,  and  all  the  time 
howling  with  fear  and  the  hunger.  Ugh !  it  is  horrible, 
horrible,  messieurs.  The  poor  animals!  How  they  suf- 
fer !  How  they  suffer !  " 

"  But  the  atrocities  of  these  Germans !  In  war  they 
become  cannibals.  I  have  an  uncle  who  is  of  the  mili- 
tary, and  he  found  on  the  battlefields  after  Malines " 

The  raconteur  spun  a  yarn  as  old  and  as  vile  as  war 
itself;  a  tale  that  was  typical  of  thousands  which  have 
been  accepted  as  Gospel  truth  since  this  war  began.  • 

It  nettled  me,  and  I  interrupted  him  in  the  most  dra- 


matic  moment  of  the  story.  :<  You  must  not  tell  such 
tales,"  I  said  severely.  "  They  will  keep  Belgians  from 
going  back,  and  you  must  go  back  to  save  yojur  country." 
The  man  shrugged  his  shoulders  significantly.  "  Ah, 
monsieur,  you  do  not  know.  If  we  go  back,  as  you  ad- 
vise, we  shall  have  to  come  away  again  tomorrow.  The 
French  are  going  to  capture  Antwerp.  Already  their 
army  is  only  a  few  kilometers  away.  Perhaps  they  too 
will  shell  the  city.  We  do  not  want  to  go  back  to  be 
shelled  a  second  time." 

"  Yes,  messieurs,  that  is  true,"  a  third  said.  "  Besides, 
there  are  the  Russians.  Already  they  are  near  Berlin, 
and  they  will  come  down  through  Germany  to  help  us. 
The  Russians  are  a  mighty  people.  Maybe  they  will 
come  soon.  We  will  not  go  back  until  they  come."  .  .  . 

I  held  my  peace.  Cows  were  coming  in  from  the  fields 
about  the  station,  ready  to  be  milked.  For  the  time  be- 
ing they  seemed  more  interesting,  more  intelligent  than 
the  sad-eyed  men  and  women  in  the  train.  They  were 
calm  and  even-tempered  and  self-respecting  beasts. 
They  read  no  newspapers,  paid  no  taxes,  went  to  no 
churches,  and  waged  no  wars.  They  ate  grass  and  gave 
milk.  That  was  life. 

We  milked  them  almost  into  the  mouths  of  the  little 
Belgians  in  the  train,  for  as  fast  as  the  tepid  milk 
squirted  into  the  tin  pails  we  bought  it  and  carried  it  to 
the  youngsters.  But  it  was  painful  to  see  the  children 
drink.  They  sucked  at  the  foaming  liquid  without  a 


trace  of  eagerness  or  enjoyment.  They  seemed  to  have 
grown  centuries  old  and  indifferent  to  everything  about 


Shortly  before  nightfall  we  pulled  out  for  Bergen  op 
Zoom.  That  hour's  ride  is  unforgettable.  Fugitives  of 
days  before  were  crowded  along  the  roads  and  out  into 
the  fields  like  grasshoppers.  There  was  not  a  foot  of 
space  along  the  highway  left  vacant  by  their  vehicles. 
One  after  another,  as  far  as  the  eye  could  see  in  either 
direction,  carts  crawled  along  through  the  dusk.  High 
Flemish  wains  rode  like  ships  above  a  tossing  sea  of  hu- 
man heads;  ponderous,  underslung  farm  wagons  came 
by,  hauled  by  stout  Percheron  horses;  there  were  milk 
carts  pulled  by  dogs ;  delivery  wagons,  out-of-date  family 
coaches,  American  carriages,  hay  wagons,  victorias, 
omnibuses,  and  ox-carts,  all  trundling  along  in  that  slug- 
gish stream.  Thousands  were  their  own  carryalls  and 
beasts  of  burden;  they  pushed  baby  carriages  or  wheel- 
barrows, piled  high  with  goods;  they  carried  awkward 
bundles  on  their  backs,  pedlar  fashion;  they  bore  bas- 
kets on  their  arms,  or  little  parcels  done  up  in  towels 
slung  from  their  elbows.  And  there  were  hundreds  plod- 
ding along  the  road  who  carried  nothing  at  all ;  who  had 
come  away  from  their  homes  leaving  absolutely  every- 
thing behind. 

Cattle  and  even  flocks  of  sheep  marched  with  the  hu- 


man  herd.  Once  I  saw  a  little  goat  run  out  of  the 
throng,  bleating  piteously.  Cats  and  birds  in  cages  rode 
high  upon  the  wagons,  and  scores  of  tired  dogs  padded 
along  behind  their  tired  masters. 

As  night  grew  darker,  fires  popped  up  under  the  alder 
hedges.  Camps  were  pitched,  pallets  of  straw  spread, 
and  people  cooked  their  suppers  over  hot  coals.  Some 
improvised  rough  lodgings  for  the  night  under  their 
wagons  on  the  bare  ground,  or  in  the  open  fields  under 
the  stars.  Every  farmyard  was  an  oasis  of  rest  and  re- 
freshment, where  food  was  to  be  had  for  the  asking  un- 
til the  supply  was  exhausted. 

Of  course  there  was  not  nearly  enough  food  for  all 
who  asked.  Most  of  that  sad  army  went  dinnerless  and 
supperless,  and  most  of  it  still  marched.  Its  own  inertia, 
not  its  will,  seemed  to  carry  it  on,  and  a  strange  sound 
came  from  it  as  it  moved — a  continuous  droning,  a  low 
murmur,  like  heavy  breathing,  which  filled  all  the  night 
air.  That  sound  seemed  to  come  from  the  earth  and  the 
sky  and  the  trees  and  the  grass,  as  well  as  from  the 
marching  men.  It  was  a  sound  more  terrible  than  hu- 
man wailing.  It  was  as  if  all  nature  mourned,  and  as 
if  this  vast  movement  through  the  night  were  the  funeral 
procession  of  a  nation.  .  .  . 

The  little  Dutch  villages  along  the  way  blazed  with 
lights  to  welcome  the  wanderers.  Every  house  was  full. 
People  gladly  slept  on  doorsteps  and  pavements  to  give 


up  their  beds  to  the  Belgians.  Every  drop  of  milk  and 
every  ounce  of  bread  was  at  their  command.  Schools 
were  turned  into  emergency  hospitals  and  churches  into 
lodging  houses  for  them.  Factories  became  refugee 
camps,  and  in  every  imaginable  way  the  Dutch  tried  to 
cope  with  the  awful  situation  which  the  war  had  thrust 
on  their  neighbors. 

The  Belgians  contributed  a  remarkable  invention  to  all 
that  the  Dutch  were  doing.  This  was  a  refugee  directory. 
I  first  saw  it  at  Woensdrecht,  and  afterwards  in  half  a 
dozen  villages  in  southern  Holland.  Conspicuous  house 
walls  or  fences  in  every  one  of  these  villages  were 
chalked  over  with  the  names  and  addresses  of  Belgians 
stopping  there.  The  directories  were  scrawled  up  along 
the  principal  streets,  and  there  were  hundreds  of  names 
in  each  list. 

The  Myer  Family 

Dordrechtstraat  12 
Marcelline  Smit 

Roosenstraat  50 
Julie  le  Maitre 

Waterstraat  17,  City 

— so  the  notices  read. 

But  there  were  scores  and  hundreds  of  families  whom 
no  directory  could  help  that  night;  families  whose 
fathers,  or  mothers,  or  children,  or  grandchildren  had  be- 
come separated  from  the  others  in  the  mad  panic  of 
flight  and  had  not  yet  been  found.  Some  of  them  would 


never  be  found.  The  newspapers  of  Holland  were  to  be 
filled  for  weeks  with  advertisements  for  the  lost.  On 
that  tragic  night,  every  town  in  southern  Holland  had 
its  quota  of  lost  children,  and  every  town  had  its  Bel- 
gian Rachels,  weeping,  and  not  to  be  comforted. 

Bergen  op  Zoom,  a  quaint  ugly  Dutch  town  on  the 
main  line  of  railway  from  Flushing  to  Rotterdam,  roared 
like  a  metropolis  that  night.  It  was  jammed  with  refu- 
gees. They  lay  about  in  the  streets,  on  the  doorsteps 
and  sidewalks.  One  could  not  walk  without  stepping  on 
them.  Every  house  and  church  and  school  was  at  their 
disposal,  but  still  there  were  thousands  too  many.  They 
were  bedded  down  on  the  bare  boards  in  church  pews, 
and  on  the  polished  floors  of  the  best  parlors  in  town. 
They  slept  in  and  under  carts  standing  in  the  streets. 
Women  in  the  pangs  of  childbirth  were  placed  on  cots 
improvised  of  school  benches  and  mattresses,  and  the 
sick  and  infirm  were  made  as  comfortable  as  possible  on 
loose  straw  piled  in  sheds  and  barns. 

Bakeries  were  commandeered  to  supply  free  bread  to 
all  who  asked.  The  milk  supply  was  taken  up  for  the 
exclusive  use  of  the  children.  Groceries  were  gutted. 
All  blankets,  bandages,  old  clothes,  and  household  medi- 
cines had  already  been  solicited  by  the  Red  Cross  for  the 
needy  by  the  time  we  got  there.  Carriages  and  wagons 
were  all  in  the  service;  men,  women,  and  even  children 
were  at  work,  and  Bergen  op  Zoom  on  the  night  of 


October  tenth,  1914,  reached  the  heights  of  unselfishness. 
But  so  did  all  Holland.  From  the  northern  tip  of 
Friesland  and  Gelderland  to  southwest  Zeeland,  there  was 
not  a  Dutch  community  which  lacked  its  share  of  fugi- 
tives. The  Government  appropriated  large  sums  for  the 
relief  of  the  refugees  on  the  day  the  flight  began. 
It  now  ran  free  trains  into  all  sections  of  the  country, 
thus  distributing  the  burden  as  equably  as  possible.  The 
spirit  of  the  Dutch  was  splendid.  They  laid  aside  in  a 
moment  the  animosities  of  years:  all  the  sordid  in- 
heritance of  hatreds  and  distrust  which  makes  up  half 
the  national  feeling  of  the  European  nations.  They  for- 
got the  Revolution  of  1830,  which  resulted  in  a  final 
separation  of  the  Belgian  Provinces  from  those  we  call 
Holland.  They  forgot  that  it  is  a  Dutchman's  patriotic 
duty  to  dislike  his  Belgian  neighbor.  And  it  is  to  their 
eternal  honor  and  glory  that  they  opened  their  country, 
already  suffering  terribly  from  the  effects  of  the  war 
among  their  neighbors,  without  question  and  without 
hope  of  reward,  to  the  disinherited  hordes  that  over- 
whelmed them. 

Free  trains  were  running  east  and  west  from  Bergen 
op  Zoom.  While  we  waited  on  the  crowded  station  plat- 
form, three  trains  were  dispatched  for  Flushing :  one  for 
refugees,  two  for  captive  Belgian  soldiers.  Men, 
women,  children,  and  luggage,  we  blocked  the  platforms, 
shivering  and  half  famished,  from  seven  o'clock  until 


long  after  ten.  A  tiny  Belgian  baby  slept  in  my  arms. 
I  had  taken  it  from  its  exhausted  mother,  and  she  had 
not  even  turned  her  eyes  to  see  what  had  happened  to 
her  baby,  or  why.  Another  child  slept  leaning  against 
my  knees.  The  older  people  stood  numb  and  dumb.  We 
watched  human  beings  ride  away  like  tired  cattle,  and 
when  they  had  gone,  others  dully  took  their  places.  The 
fugitives  to  the  last  man  seemed  utterly  exhausted. 

Late  at  night  the  station  gates  swung  open  once  again, 
and  there  appeared  the  head  of  a  long  procession  of  cap- 
tive Belgian  soldiers.  Some  were  in  civilian  clothes  and 
carried  awkward  bundles  on  their  backs,  like  many  of 
the  other  fugitives;  some  were  bareheaded  and  coatless, 
shivering  in  the  cold  October  night  air;  a  few  still  bore 
their  army  blankets  in  great  white  sausage  rolls  across 
their  shoulders  and  under  their  arms;  two  or  three  had 
brown  loaves  of  bread  in  their  hands,  and  bottles,  which 
the  Dutch  had  given  them,  in  their  pockets ;  but  most  of 
them  had  nothing  at  all  except  the  uniforms  on  their 
backs.  There  were  at  least  two  thousand  of  them. 

They  slouched  in  carelessly,  without  order  or  direc- 
tion, between  two  files  of  Dutch  guards.  Going  to  prison 
until  the  end  of  the  war  was  not  a  pleasant  prospect, 
even  if  it  is  called  "  internment."  But  when  the 
refugees  on  the  platform  caught  sight  of  the  head  of 
that  procession  and  realized  that  these  were  the  men  of 
King  Albert's  army,  they  sent  up  a  cheer  which  thrilled 
those  tired  soldiers  like  a  bugle-call.  It  was  marvelous 


to  hear  such  a  cheer  in  the  midst  of  so  much  suffering. 
The  long,  irregular  lines  stiffened  and  became  soldierly 
once  more;  the  men's  eyes  flashed  as  they  returned  the 
shouts  with  a  will ;  and  when  two  long  trains  came  in  to 
take  them  away  to  military  prison,  the  Belgian  soldiers 
went  into  the  cars  still  cheering  and  singing. 


It  was  almost  midnight  when  I  climbed  painfully  into 
the  Rotterdam  Express  at  Bergen  op  Zoom.  Every 
nerve  ached  and  trembled.  My  arms  hung  paralyzed  at 
my  sides ;  my  thin  clothing  crackled  with  cold ;  I  had  no 
coat.  But  nothing  seemed  to  matter,  for  life  and  death 
were  like  old  friends  and  pain  was  like  a  brother;  all 
problems  seemed  simple,  and  all  emotions  clean. 

I  stumbled  into  the  first  open  compartment  of  the 
first-class  carriage,  fumbling  at  my  belt  of  gold-pieces  to 
make  sure  they  were  safe.  There  was  an  empty  seat, 
and  I  dropped  into  it,  hardly  noticing  my  only  neighbor 
— a  dark-eyed  lady  of  about  thirty-five,  sitting  directly 
across  from  me. 

I  leaned  my  cheek  against  the  cold  window-glass  and 
stared  out  into  the  night,  "seeing  things."  It  was  a 
mental  trick  I  had  learned  when  tired — to  visualize 
rapidly  whole  trains  of  pictures,  so  that  they  fly  by  in 
the  darkness  as  against  a  screen. 

The  crisp  voice  of  the  lady  in  the  seat  opposite  inter- 
rupted my  picture  making.  Her  eyes  studied  me  with 


the  confident  look  of  the  born  aristocrat  who  knows  and 
feels  instinctively  the  privileges  of  birth.  It  was  not 
strange  that  she  was  traveling  alone.  In  wartime  every- 
thing is  possible.  Boats  from  Folkestone  to  Flushing 
went  at  all  hours,  for  German  submarines  were  active; 
and  on  this  night  of  nights,  all  trains  were  hopelessly  off 
schedule.  Our  train,  the  boat-train,  would  probably 
reach  Rotterdam  after  two  o'clock  in  the  morning. 

"  You  are  English?  "  she  asked. 

"  No,  I  am  an  American.  But  all  my  ancestors  were 
from  the  British  Isles." 

"  I  should  have  thought  you  English."  Her  eyes 
examined  me  carefully:  tousled  hair,  soft  collar,  and 
coatless  shoulders. 

"  You  compliment  me,"  I  said,  "  since  you  see  me 
half -dressed  and  half -frozen.  But  you  are  English." 

"  By  birth,  yes.  By  marriage  I  am  Dutch.  My  hus- 
band is  head  of  a  department  of  government  in  the 
Hague."  She  spoke  a  name  well-known  in  Holland.  "  I 
have  been  two  months  in  England  visiting,  and  am  just 
returning.  .  .  .  Tell  me,"  she  exclaimed,  without  alter- 
ing the  well-bred  modulation  of  her  voice,  "have  you 
seen  any  of  those  vile  Huns?" 

"  I  have  just  come  from  Antwerp." 

"  So  I  thought.  I  should  like  to  burn  the  whole  Ger- 
man nation,  as  one's  gardener  burns  the  worms  in  an 
apple-tree !  Did  you  see  any  atrocities  ?  " 

"  No." 


She  appeared  to  be  disappointed.  "  My  family  is  well- 
known  in  England,"  she  said.  "  I  have  friends — army 
officers  high  in  the  service,  you  know.  They  have  told 
me  unspeakable  things.  In  an  English  hospital  I  saw 
two  little  Belgian  children  with  their  hands  cut  off  at  the 
wrists " 

"  Don't !  "  I  interrupted. 

"  You  don't  want  to  hear  about  them?  "  she  asked  in 
evident  annoyance. 

"  Forgive  me,"  I  begged.  "  I've  just  come  from  the 
midst  of  the  war.  My  nerves  are  a  bit  on  edge.  I've 
seen  so  much  today." 

"  Then  you  have  seen  things,"  she  said  positively. 
"  Now  I  want  to  hear  about  them.  Tell  me  exactly  what 
you  have  seen !  " 

"  Shall  I  tell  you  how  the  Germans  came  into  Ant- 

"  Please  do.    Did  they  commit  any  atrocities?  " 

"  No,"  I  said.  "  They  came  in  very  quietly.  I  went 
up  to  the  first  officer  I  saw  and  began  to  talk  with  him. 
Do  you  know  the  first  thing  he  asked  me?  It  was  the 
same  thing  you  asked.  '  Are  you  English  ? '  And  he 
didn't  seem  to  care  one  way  or  the  other.  He  asked  me 
politely,  just  as  you  would  ask." 

"  But  didn't  the  Germans  shoot  any  citizens?  " 

"  No,"  I  said. 

She  stared  at  me  with  sudden  dislike  and  suspicion. 
"Are  you  pro-German?"  she  demanded. 


"  Not  in  the  least/'  I  returned.  "  I  am  heart  and  soul 
pro-Belgian,  and  I  want  the  Allies  to  win  the  war." 

She  seemed  doubtful.  Her  dark  eyes  bored  into  me, 
as  if  to  lay  bare  the  falsehoods  hiding  behind  my  tired 
face.  "Didn't  the  Belgians  do  anything?" 

"What  do  you  mean?" 

"  Did  they  let  those  murderers  come  into  Antwerp 
without  fighting  to  the  last  man  ?  " 

"  Oh,  they  fought,  and  the  English  fought,  too,  splen- 
didly," I  went  on.  "  But  when  the  bombardment  had 
lasted  thirty-six  hours,  and  the  army  had  gone  away, 
there  wasn't  anything  more  to  do." 

"  I  should  have  shot  at  the  Germans  from  the  win- 
dows! Why,  officers  I  know  tell  me  they  have  found 
women's  bodies  ravished  after  they  were  dead,  and  there 
was  a  girl  eighteen  years  old  in  one  of  the  London  hos- 
pitals whose  breasts  had  been  hacked  off." 

"  Please  don't !  "  I  implored  her. 

"Why?"  she  asked  angrily.  "People  should  know 
these  things ! " 

"  You  don't  understand ;  you  can't  understand.  I 
have  just  seen  some  of  the  saddest  and  most  terrible 
things  in  the  world:  the  sight  of  a  whole  nation  in  a 
panic,  running  away  from  its  country.  I've  seen  thou- 
sands of  old  people,  and  children,  and  even  little  babies. 
I've  seen  people  of  every  sort :  peasants,  aristocrats,  and 
merchants.  I've  talked  with  them,  walked  with  them, 
ridden  with  them,  and  stood  with  them  in  the  cold;  and 


yet  I've  hardly  heard  those  poor  people  say  one  hateful 
word.  During  all  this  terrible  week  they've  been  as  sim- 
ple as  little  children — just  wanting  to  live,  and  eat,  and 
sleep,  and  be  in  company  with  other  people.  They've 
almost  forgotten  how  to  hate." 

Her  fine  eyes  narrowed.  "  Don't  say  that.  It's  hor- 
rible even  to  think  it.  Forget  to  hate  the  Huns? — noth- 
ing in  the  world  could  persuade  me  to  do  that!  Oh,  I 
hope  and  pray  every  night  for  the  time  when  our  sol- 
diers are  in  Germany  and  can  pay  them  tit  for  tat ! " 

I  must  have  winced. 

"  The  trouble  with  you  is,  you  have  been  too  close  to 
it.  You  are  abnormal  just  now,"  she  concluded. 

She  did  not  speak  again  until  we  were  rolling  into  the 
station  at  Rotterdam  at  half -past  two  in  the  morning. 
I  got  her  luggage  out  of  the  racks,  and  piloted  her 
safely  to  a  taxi-cab. 

"  Good-by,"  she  said,  giving  me  her  cool  finger  tips. 
"  I'm  glad  me  met,  although  you've  disappointed  me. 
Give  me  your  address.  On  Monday  I  am  going  to  send 
you  newspapers  telling  of  the  atrocities."  * 

*A  discussion  of  Belgian  atrocities  has  no  place  in  this  book. 
The  foregoing  chapter  records  a  mood;  not  a  judicial  decision. 
But  for  those  who  desire  trustworthy  evidence  by  an  American 
eye-witness,  I  suggest  Arthur  Gleason's  Young  Hilda  at  the  Wars 
and  Golden  Lads,  published  by  the  Century  Company,  New  York, 
1915  and  1916. 



Ten  days  later  I  was  speeding  from  Rotterdam  to  the 
Belgian  border  with  a  yachtful  of  victuals  and  clothing 
for  the  vluchtelingen.  One  of  the  secretaries  of  the  In- 
ternational Court  of  Arbitration,  Dr.  M.  P.  Rooseboom, 
a  nervous,  slender,  active  gentlemen,  quick  in  his  sym- 
pathies, and  in  appearance  the  antithesis  of  the  stolid 
stage  Dutchman,  had  solicited  food  and  clothing  for  the 
refugees  as  soon  as  they  came  into  Holland,  and  bor- 
rowed from  one  of  his  friends  a  fine  steam  yacht  to  take 
the  supplies  to  the  towns  along  the  frontier  where  they 
were  most  needed.  I  went  as  his  guest. 

All  available  space  on  the  yacht  was  piled  with  bags 
of  rice,  beans,  coffee,  tubs  of  lard  and  butter,  cheeses  big 
as  cartwheels,  packages  of  underclothing  for  women  and 
children,  and  more  than  eight  hundred  loaves  of  bread. 

Dr.  Rooseboom  had  been  in  Liege  while  the  battle  still 
was  on.  He  and  several  other  Red  Cross  volunteers 
from  Holland  were  working  their  way  up  the  Meuse, 
shells  flying,  bridges  being  blown  up,  the  shriek  and 
thunder  of  bombardment  deafening  them. 

Suddenly,  he  said,  they  noticed  beside  the  river  a 
slender  steel  camp  table,  its  legs  half  buried  in  mire, 
three  or  four  wine  bottles  on  it,  and  an  immense  map 
spread  across  its  top,  over  which  hung  a  general, 
propped  by  his  elbows,  studying  the  chart  oblivious  to 
the  din.  His  chair  and  four  or  five  other  chairs  stand- 


ing  in  the  mud  were  of  priceless  mahogany  and  had  been 
taken  from  a  nearby  chateau. 

Dr.  Rooseboom  was  introduced  to  the  general.  He 
was  von  Emmich,  commander  of  the  Tenth  Army 
Corps,  the  captor  of  Liege.  "  Ah,"  said  he,  "  I  know 
you.  You  are  the  son  of  General  Rooseboom,  whom  I 
met  at  the  Prussian  manoeuvers  in  1897." 

When  Dr.  Rooseboom  told  his  father  of  the  en- 
counter, the  latter  looked  grave.  "  I  remember  it  well," 
he  said.  "  The  Germans  charged  in  close  formation. 
'  You  will  sacrifice  thousands  upon  thousands  needlessly 
if  you  drive  your  men  like  that/  I  said  to  a  group 
of  German  officers  who,  like  myself,  were  watching  the 
manoeuvers.  One  of  them,  a  young  colonel,  replied, 
'  Don't  trouble  yourself  about  that.  We  have  them 
to  lose ! '  It  was  von  Emmich."  .  .  . 

Barges,  loaded  with  refugees,  lay  moored  on  the  broad 
rivers  and  in  the  canals.  It  was  wash-day,  and  their  red, 
blue,  white,  and  gray  flannels  flapped  from  lines  hung 
across  the  decks  like  jaunty  flags  in  the  keen  wind. 

At  nightfall  we  reached  Hansweert  and  dined  in  a 
small  hotel  crammed  with  Belgian  refugees  and  Dutch 
soldiers.  Rain  beat  the  roof  in  a  deluge.  Clouds  of 
tobacco  smoke  and  the  steam  of  wet  clothes  drying  be- 
fore a  small  stove  smothered  us,  and  everybody  talked 
of  Antwerp. 

After  dinner,  a  Belgian  in  a  great  fur  coat  began  the 


story  of  a  German  defeat  at  Ostend :  the  Germans  were 
in  full  flight,  King  Albert  personally  was  in  command 
of  the  Allies,  and  he  had  just  issued  a  proclamation  from 
Ostend  forbidding  his  people  returning  to  Belgium  until 
the  war  was  over! 

"  But  the  Germans  occupied  Ostend  four  days  ago," 
Dr.  Rooseboom  volunteered,  "  and  the  King  of  Belgium 
is  in  France." 

The  Belgian  turned  on  him  furiously.  "  Nay !  Nay ! 
That  is  not  so,"  he  thundered. 

"  Here  is  the  Nieuwe  Rotter  damsche  Courant  telling 
about  it." 

The  Belgian  swept  the  newspaper  aside.    "  It  is  not 


"  No  matter.  But  where  is  this  proclamation?  "  The 
commander-in-chief  of  our  little  relief  expedition  ad- 
dressed himself  to  the  roomful. 

No  one  answered. 

"  Isn't  it  a  shame,"  he  said  to  me  in  English.  "  Louis 
Franck  of  Antwerp  is  in  Holland  appealing  to  the 
refugees  to  return  to  Belgium.  The  King  and  the  Gov- 
ernment at  Havre  have  told  them  to  go  back.  But  if 
they  spread  stories  like  this,  they'll  never  go  home,  and 
they  must  go,  for  Belgium's  sake  as  well  as  for  Hol- 
land's." He  turned  again  to  the  fur-coated  Belgian. 
"  Look  here,  mynheer,"  he  began,  "  can  you  tell  me 
where " 

His  adversary  turned  the  tables  very  neatly.    "  These 


Dutchmen  are  paid  by  the  Germans  to  tell  us  tales,"  he 
whispered  loudly  to  the  man  at  the  next  table.  .  .  . 

Next  morning  we  were  in  Ter  Neuzen,  a  beautiful 
medley  of  one-story  houses,  steep  red-tiled  roofs,  small 
mullioned  windows,  tiny  chimneys,  claret-red  brick  walls, 
and  narrow  alleys.  Refugees  were  not  allowed  to  stay 
long  in  Ter  Neuzen,  because  it  is  a  fortified  place,  and 
the  Dutch  feared  that  German  spies  might  come  with 
the  vluchtelingen.  But  the  fugitives  were  allowed  to  rest 
there  and  even  to  spend  the  night.  The  bare  little  barn 
of  a  Protestant  church  had  been  crowded  with  them,  and 
pious  ladies  of  the  town  had  given  up  their  neatly  em- 
broidered church  cushions  so  the  refugees  might  sleep 
comfortably  in  the  pews. 

The  church  vestibule  was  piled  with  these  cushions, 
soiled  and  much  dilapidated  after  a  week  under  the  heads 
and  heels  of  refugees.  The  municipal  authorities  had 
just  condemned  them  to  be  burned.  An  apple-cheeked 
old  vrouw  was  fishing  gingerly  about  in  the  pile. 

"  Ja"  she  explained.  "  I  gave  them  my  cushion,  the 
poor  Belgians,  but  it  was  a  very  nice  cushion,  all  em- 
broidered, and  now  I  want  it  back  again." 

We  left  her  still  searching.  .  .  . 

In  the  warm  sanctuary  of  the  Roman  Catholic  chapel, 
a  score  of  Belgian  women  and  children  were  at  prayer. 
Incense  from  the  early  mass  still  clung  about  the  pretty 
little  church,  and  yet  it  seemed  all  full  of  sighs  and  tears. 


Two  small  girls,  with  eyes  red  from  weeping,  stood 
apart,  their  lips  trembling  as  they  sent  up  their  childish 
petitions.  I  was  told  that  they  had  lost  both  father  and 
mother  in  the  mad  flight  from  Antwerp. 

In  Sas  van  Ghent  on  the  Belgian  frontier,  we  found 
five  thousand  refugees  still  quartered  on  the  town. 
More  than  two  thousand  were  in  ships  along  the  canals, 
most  of  them  able  to  pay  for  their  support.  There  were 
six  hundred  paupers.  For  a  week  the  town  authorities 
had  been  passing  fugitives  along  to  the  less  crowded 
ports  farther  north  at  a  rate  of  several  thousands  a 

But  the  poor  who  remained  were  fortunate.  Sas  van 
Ghent  lies  cheek  by  jowl  with  the  beautiful  Belgian  town 
of  Zelzaete,  where  King  Albert  and  Queen  Elizabeth 
spent  two  nights  in  their  flight  to  Ostend  and  the  Yser, 
and  it  possesses  a  huge  phosphate  factory,  owned  by  Bel- 
gian capitalists,  and  idle  since  the  beginning  of  the  war. 
The  Dutch  turned  all  the  newcomers  into  the  vast  fac- 
tory. They  filled  store-rooms  and  offices  with  straw,  col- 
lected all  the  blankets  in  town,  set  doctors  promptly  to 
work,  and  had  the  situation  well  in  hand  from  the 

In  the  heart  of  the  works  was  an  immense  building, 
large  as  a  circus,  where  the  Belgians  camped  by  thou- 
sands. High  overhead  was  a  wilderness  of  tracks  and 
steel  supports  and  traveling  cranes,  but  the  dirt  floor  was 


clear  of  obstruction,  and  people  slept,  cooked,  washed, 
and  ate  on  the  bare  ground.  After  a  day  or  two,  a 
genius  got  to  work,  begged  lumber  from  the  authorities, 
and  set  about  building  himself  a  house  of  uncut  boards 
and  straw.  Forty  or  fifty  others  followed  his  example, 
and  the  results  were  excellent.  The  dwellings,  no  larger 
than  pig-stys,  were  exactly  the  sort  of  houses  our  an- 
cestors were  building  three  thousand  years  ago,  and 
formed  as  quaint  a  village  as  the  famous  Swiss  lake- 
houses.  They  gave  a  delightful  sense  of  privacy  and 
ownership.  Blankets  or  old  coats  hung  over  the  open- 
ing which  served  as  door  and  window,  and  straw  stuck 
through  the  chinks  between  the  boards  as  it  does  through 
the  ribs  of  a  scarecrow.  Little  wooden  shoes  stood  be- 
side the  huts,  for  there  were  plenty  of  children  among 
the  refugees.  Once  I  saw  a  real  French  bisque  doll  ly- 
ing in  a  cradle  whittled  from  a  piece  of  board.  One  of 
the  more  aristocratic  huts  had  a  little  board  fence  about 
it,  to  keep  the  baby  from  running  away,  and  the  mother 
was  industriously  scrubbing  at  a  pile  of  clothes  in  a  pail, 
and  hanging  them  on  the  fence  to  dry. 

There  came  a  clop  clip  of  little  wooden  shoes  across 
the  hard  dirt  floor,  and  a  five-year-old  vluchtelingetje 
(little  refugee  girl)  darted  by  us.  She  was  playing  hide- 
and-seek  with  another  youngster,  dodging  awkwardly 
about  among  the  little  human  stys.  It  must  have  been 
a  great  adventure  for  children  to  camp  out  with  so 
many  playmates  in  such  strange  surroundings,  to  eat 


strange  food,  to  play  strange  games,  and  at  night  to  hear 
bloodcurdling  tales  of  what  the  Germans  do  to  little 
children ! 

The  phosphate  factory  was  paradise  compared  with 
camps  in  some  other  towns  along  the  Belgian-Dutch 


In  Hulst,  which  we  next  visited,  the  coming  of  the 
Belgians  had  been  tragic.  A  small  town  in  the  neighbor- 
hood was  looted  by  the  frantic  fugitives  before  Dutch 
troops  could  arrive  and  restore  order.  Hulst  itself  for 
two  nights  and  days  was  like  chaos.  Men,  women,  chil- 
dren, vehicles,  and  a  small  army  of  Belgian  soldiers  over- 
whelmed the  town. 

By  far  the  greater  portion  of  the  troops  got  safely  to 
the  Yser.  Eye-witnesses  have  told  me  how  they  came 
along  the  dykes,  tired,  dirty,  discouraged,  but  how  they 
turned  at  a  word  of  command  and  went  back  into  battle, 
singing.  It  will  never  be  forgotten  how  the  doughty 
Belgians  held  their  share  of  the  line  in  the  November  bat- 
tles. The  fact  that  the  army  retired  in  safety  from  Ant- 
werp is  counted  a  Belgian  success,  in  this  war  of  mobile 
armies  and  not  of  fixed  fortresses.  Stories  were  current 
of  General  von  Beseler's  chagrin  at  this.  There  were 
even  legends  of  his  suicide  in  Ghent.  But  in  August, 
1915,  he  reappeared  again  in  military  annals  as  con- 
queror of  the  Russian  fortress  of  Brest-Litovsk,  for 


which  he  received  the  blue  ribbon  of  the  Prussian  order 
"  pour  le  Merited 

The  British  lost  at  Antwerp  three  hundred  of  their 
eight  thousand  men.  The  Belgian  losses  have  never  been 
reported.  But  in  addition  to  the  killed,  wounded,  and 
missing,  twenty-one  thousand  two  hundred  and  fifty  Bel- 
gian soldiers  and  one  thousand  five  hundred  and  sixty 
British  soldiers  and  marines  fled  to  Holland  with  the 
civil  population,  and  were  interned.  At  Hulst,  auto- 
mobiles full  of  high  officers  of  the  Belgian  army  arrived 
ahead  of  their  troops.  Then  came  the  men,  the  under- 
sized, swarthy,  discouraged-looking  soldiers  whom  I  had 
seen  marching  across  the  pontoon  bridge  at  Antwerp, 
completely  demoralized  now  and  flying  for  their  lives. 
Their  retreat  had  been  cut  off  southwest  of  Saint 

A  day  and  a  night  they  came  straggling  into  Holland. 
There  were  wounded  in  that  rout — men  with  their  heads 
awkwardly  bandaged  up,  or  their  arms  in  slings  made  of 
the  sleeves  of  their  shirts.  Many  limped.  Some  were 
bareheaded.  Some  had  thrown  away  their  overcoats,  so 
they  could  run  the  faster,  and  the  fronts  of  their  uni- 
forms were  soaked  with  perspiration.  Dismounted  cav- 
alrymen, their  blood-red  trousers  flapping  as  they  walked, 
came  with  the  blue  uniformed  infantrymen.  Many  of 
the  uniforms  were  torn  and  soiled:  the  whole  back  of 
one  overcoat  had  been  cut  away  by  a  shell.  A  color 
sergeant  marched  in,  still  clinging  to  a  dirty,  drooping 


battle-flag.  Field  artillery  and  ammunition  wagons  were 
part  of  that  strange  procession,  the  drivers  humped  list- 
lessly above  their  horses,  and  the  lines  dragging.  Com- 
missariat wagons,  hospital  afnbulances,  Red  Cross  auto- 
mobiles, and  omnibuses  came  over  into  Holland  with 
the  army.  And  perhaps  most  pathetic  of  all,  a  bedrag- 
gled regimental  band  marched  in,  half  the  men  still  car- 
rying their  cornets  and  drums  and  horns — a  hideous 
travesty  of  the  pomp  and  circumstance  of  war. 

Thousands  brought  their  rifles,  but  most  were  un- 
armed. In  Hulst  I  saw  a  pile  of  Belgian  guns  sixty  feet 
long  and  six  feet  high,  corded  up  like  firewood,  and  a 
heap  of  cartridges,  at  least  twenty  bushels  of  them,  ly- 
ing under  a  rough  tarpaulin  on  the  ground.  In  addition 
to  these  spoils,  there  was  a  small  hill  of  bayonets,  car- 
tridge belts,  side-arms,  revolver  holsters,  camp  kits,  sap- 
pers' axes,  and  shovels,  piled  helter-skelter  in  the  market- 

An  immense  tent  was  erected  in  the  square  before  the 
Town  Hall,  and  civilian  refugees  were  camped  on  straw 
under  its  thin  shelter,  in  a  hideous,  beast-like  common- 
wealth. The  Gothic  cathedral  in  the  center  of  the  town, 
centuries  old  and  marvelously  beautiful,  became  a  camp 
for  soldiers  waiting  to  be  interned.  The  town  schools 
were  emergency  hospitals.  There  were  thirty-seven  pre- 
mature births  in  one  of  these.  School  benches  with  a  mat- 
tress over  them  served  as  maternity  cots.  Every  rag  of 
cloth  and  every  drop  of  medicine  suddenly  became  price*- 


less.  The  sick  lay  on  pallets  spread  flat  on  the  floor  in 
the  schoolrooms,  and  Sisters  of  Charity  kept  the  place 
as  neat  as  the  neatest  metropolitan  hospital. 

The  bread  supply  had  been  exhausted  days  before  we 
came.  Most  of  the  fugitives  lived  on  boiled  beans, 
cooked  in  ten  great  cauldrons  in  an  open  courtyard. 
There  were  crowds  of  Belgians  jammed  about  the  en- 
closure, waiting  to  be  allowed  their  turn  inside,  and  they 
were  ravenous  as  beasts.  No  dishes  or  spoons  were  to 
be  had.  Men,  women,  and  little  children  brought  empty 
tins,  bowls,  or  fragments  of  old  crockery  to  hold  their 
share  of  the  precious  food,  and  they  ate  from  little 
wooden  shovels  which  they  had  whittled  out  for  them- 
selves. No  one  knew  how  many  vluchtelingen  were  in 
Hulst,  but  on  the  day  before,  in  a  nearby  village  of 
one  thousand  inhabitants,  there  had  been  twenty-three 
thousand  Belgians. 

It  had  poured  rain  all  day.  I  stepped  out  of  the  in- 
cessant floods  into  the  shelter  of  the  tent  on  the  market- 
place, and  stumbled  over  a  baby  carriage.  I  looked  fur- 
ther into  the  stuffy,  malodorous  dusk  of  the  tent.  There 
was  another  baby  carriage,  and  another,  and  another. 
.  .  .  Some  proud  poet  should  write  the  Ode  to  the  Baby 
Carriage! — that  democratic  chariot  of  the  children  of 
men.  It  had  been  everywhere  in  the  tragic  procession 
from  Antwerp.  It  had  trundled  over  roads,  it  had  rid- 
den high  on  carts,  it  had  traveled  strapped  to  the  handle- 


bars  of  bicycles,  and  always  it  had  held  the  most  precious 
possessions  of  its  owners.  Sometimes  these  possessions 
were  family  pictures,  or  silver,  or  fine  linen ;  but  usually, 
more  precious  than  all  these,  it  held  the  Belgian  babies. 
Reverently  I  bare  my  head  to  the  Baby  Carriage:  it  is 
the  vehicle  of  civilization. 


Human  beings  in  agony  are  prone  to  curse  Fate  and 
to  blame  even  friends  for  their  pain.  The  tear-worn 
faces  of  the  refugees  masked  bitter  fancies.  They  told 
many  tales  of  treachery  in  connection  with  Antwerp. 

And  it  is  hardly  to  be  wondered  at.  Fast  as  the  Ger- 
mans advanced  through  Belgium,  a  part  of  the  popula- 
tion retreated  before  them.  These  migrations  flowed  in 
great  waves.  There  was  a  general  exodus  from  Brussels 
before  the  German  troops  occupied  it  on  August  twenti- 
eth: the  rich  going  to  England,  the  poor  to  Antwerp, 
or  over  the  border  into  Holland.  And  as  the  tides  of 
battle  ebbed  and  flowed  through  the  country  between 
Malines  and  Ghent,  the  peasant  population  joined  the 
urban  fugitives,  most  of  them  crowding  into  Antwerp. 
They  felt  absolutely  safe  in  the  circle  of  the  famous  Ant- 
werp forts.  Had  not  military  experts  declared  the 
fortifications  impregnable?  Then,  in  less  than  a  week, 
three  of  the  outer  forts  fell,  and  the  Germans  were  ham- 
mering at  the  gates. 

Stories  of  collusion  between  Belgian  officers  and  the 


Germans  found  many  believers.  Accounts  of  reinforced 
concrete  gun-bases  found  under  tennis  courts  in  Malines, 
Duffel,  and  Contich,  were  common.  When  I  visited  Dr. 
Henry  van  Dyke,  American  Minister  in  the  Hague,  his 
first  question  bore  on  these  stories  of  treachery.  "  There 
are  many  rumors  here  in  connection  with  the  fall  of 
Antwerp,"  he  explained.  "  They  seem  to  have  some 
foundation.  There  undoubtedly  were  Germans  in  the 
Belgian  army." 

Many  Belgians  blamed  Churchill's  ill-fated  expedition 
to  Antwerp,  declaring  that  the  city  could  have  been  saved 
a  useless  bombardment  and  its  inhabitants  spared  the  hor- 
rors of  flight,  if  the  British  had  not  interfered.  They 
had  forgotten  the  devotion  of  their  King  and  Queen; 
they  had  forgotten  the  self-sacrificing  patriotism  of  the 
Common  Council  of  Antwerp  which  unanimously  voted 
on  October  fourth  that  it  was  "  the  unchangeable  wish 
of  the  population  to  see  pursued  to  the  very  end  the  de- 
fense of  the  fortress  of  Antwerp,  without  any  other 
thought  than  that  of  the  national  defense,  and  without 
any  regard  to  the  dangers  run  by  persons  or  private 

A  slant-eyed  Belgian  girl,  with  wet  hair,  and  a  big 
shawl  drooping  about  her  narrow  shoulders,  sat  in  the 
malodorous  tent  on  the  market-place  in  Hulst,  telling  a 
story  to  a  group  of  refugees.  Outside,  the  rain  fell 
steadily.  It  sluiced  and  spotched  and  oozed  from  the 


atmosphere,  as  if  the  air  were  a  cold,  wet  sponge.  It 
crawled  down  necks  and  up  trouser-legs.  It  sopped 
cheeks  and  beaded  eyebrows.  It  snuggled  into  the  roots 
of  the  hair,  and  churned  up  mud  that  clung  like  cottage- 

The  vluchtelingen  were  huddled  together  in  the  dismal 
shelter  of  the  tent.  A  couple  of  lanterns  gave  all  the 
light  there  was,  except  the  glow  of  a  pipe.  An  old  Bel- 
gian sat  smoking,  in  spite  of  the  regulations  imposed  by 
the  Dutch,  and  underfoot  was  enough  loose  straw  to  fire 
a  city. 

The  girl  allowed  me  to  join  the  group,  and  retold  the 
story  for  my  benefit. 

"  It  is  a  story  of  King  Albert,  m'sieu,"  she  said,  by 
way  of  preface.  "  A  story  of  our  King  and  of  my 
brother.  You  would  hear  it  ?  " 

"  Please,  mademoiselle.     If  you  please." 

"  In  French,  m'sieu,"  she  went  on;  "  yes?  Well,  then ! 
Our  officers  were  bad,  all  bad.  That  is  why  we  lost." 

I  nodded  in  sympathy. 

"  Always  they  were  drinking  or  idling.  My  brother, 
he  was  of  the  artillery,  stationed  near  Antwerp.  And  one 
afternoon  comes  the  King,  alone,  marching  into  the  fort 
on  foot.  The  King  stared  about  him  as  one  does  in  a 
dream,  for  there  was  not  an  officer,  not  one  single  officer, 
only  private  soldiers  and  one  sergeant,  there  beside  the 
big  guns. 

"  ( Where  are  your  officers? '  cried  the  King. 


'  Sire,    they   have   gone   to   an   inn — to — to   drink 
champagne/  says  my  brother. 

"'What?'  thundered  the  King.  'They  have  gone 
where  ? ' 

"  '  To  an  inn,  Your  Majesty/  says  my  brother  again. 

"  '  Leaving  the  forts  in  charge  of  a  sergeant  ? ' 

"  '  Yes,  Your  Majesty/ 

" '  Send  for  them  at  once/  cried  the  King,  and  his 
eyes  glittered. 

"  After  a  quarter  of  an  hour  they  came,  very  shame- 
faced, riding  on  their  fine  horses.  From  the  pocket  of 
one  of  them  there  stuck  out  a  champagne  bottle ! 

"The  officers  saluted  the  King,  much  frightened. 
'  Get  down  off  your  horses/  he  ordered. 

"  They  climbed  down  awkwardly,  with  legs  of  wood. 

" '  You  are  under  arrest/  said  the  King.  He  thrust 
out  his  hand  suddenly  and  pulled  the  wine  bottle  from 
the  pocket  of  him  who  had  it.  '  For  this  you  betray  a 
kingdom — for  wine  and  an  hour  at  the  inn/  he  said. 
'  Give  me  your  swords/ 

"  They  gave  them  up. 

"  Then  the  King  took  the  swords  and  snapped  them  in 
two  across  his  knee  before  the  faces  of  the  officers  and 
men.  And  the  King  wept." 



ON  a  cold,  clammy  afternoon  in  late  November,  three 
young  Americans  stood  in  the  Pass  Bureau  at  Antwerp, 
chatting  with  Lieutenant  Sperling,  aide  to  Baron  von 
Hiihne,  the  German  Governor  of  the  fortress  and  prov- 
ince of  Antwerp.  The  bureau  was  a  rambling  suite  of 
offices  in  the  old  Belgian  Ministry  of  Colonies  on  the 
Marche  aux  Souliers.  The  floor  was  bare  planks.  The 
furniture  was  cheap  oak,  scarred  and  dented.  Outside, 
under  the  wide  windows,  stood  rows  of  military  auto- 
mobiles, their  gray  hoods  marked  "  General  Government, 
Fortress  Antwerp,"  and  sentries  scuffed  to  and  fro  in  the 
paved  courtyard.  The  street  before  the  bureau  was 
clear  of  pedestrians,  for  the  Germans  did  not  permit 
Belgians  to  walk  past  headquarters,  unless  on  official 
business.  Next  door,  in  the  Hotel  Saint  Antoine,  where 
British  and  Belgian  officers  had  lodged  during  the  siege, 
and  where  German  officers  now  lived,  a  shell  had  punched 
a  neat  round  hole  near  the  roof  facing  the  Place  Verte, 
and  across  the  street,  in  the  Marche  aux  Souliers,  stood 
the  gutted  hulks  of  a  score  of  shops,  burned  during  the 



bombardment.  The  ruins  were  partially  hidden  by  a  neat 
wooden  fence  which  served  as  bulletin-board  for  the 
Antwerp  Animal  Rescue  League,  the  Belgian  Red  Cross, 
and  the  German  General  Government. 

An  official  proclamation,  still  posted,  although  Ant- 
werp had  fallen  a  month  and  a  half  before,  read : 

The  German  Army  enters  your  city  as  a  victor.  No  harm 
will  be  done  to  any  citizen,  and  your  property  will  be  spared 
if  you  avoid  any  hostile  action.  Any  insubordination  will 
be  punished  by  court-martial,  and  may  result  in  the  destruc- 
tion of  your  beautiful  city. 

In  the  offices  of  the  Pass  Bureau,  a  lithograph  of 
Kaiser  Wilhelm  Second  and  two  cheap  picture  postcards 
showing  German  soldiers  off  for  the  front  were  pasted 
on  the  walls,  and  perched  above  a  bookcase  stood  a 
plaster  bust  of  Leopold  First,  Belgium's  first  king.  Four 
or  five  soldiers  sat  about  at  little  tables  laboriously  writ- 
ing out  passes  in  longhand,  or  interrogating  sad-eyed 
Belgians  who  filed  in  one  by  one  from  the  long,  black, 
silent  queue  waiting  outside  in  the  cold.  While  we 
watched,  the  bureau  closed  for  the  night. 

"  Geschlossen! "  muttered  an  under-officer,  rising 
from  his  chair. 

"If  you  please,  monsieur "  began  one  of  the  Bel- 

"  No !  It's  shut !  Out !  "  he  exclaimed.  And  a  soldier 
hustled  the  applicant  to  the  door. 


"  Please,  Herr  Lieutenant." 

Sperling  wheeled  and  faced  an  orderly  standing  stiffly 
at  attention. 

"  The  passes  are  for ?  " 

"  Lieutenant  Herbster,  U.  S.  N.,  Mr.  G.  Evans  Hub- 
bard,  and  Mr.  Edward  Eyre  Hunt,"  he  answered  in  Ger- 

"  Danke  sehr.    The  gentlemen  are  from ?" 

"  Hague,  Holland." 

"Citizens  of ?" 

"The  United  States  of  America.  All  the  gentlemen 
are  Americans." 

"To  go  from  Antwerp  to  Brussels  and  return?" 

"  Antwerp  to  Brussels." 

"  For  civil  or  military  automobile,  Herr  Lieutenant  ?  " 

"  Military  automobile,  of  course.  The  gentlemen  are 

The  Lieutenant  turned  again  to  us  and  continued :  "  It 
is  fine,  eh?  Everything  for  me  is  paid.  I  have  a  suite 
of  three  rooms  in  the  Hotel  Saint  Antoine,  where  His 
Excellency  the  Governor  and  the  others  of  the  staff  live. 
I  have  a  bedroom,  a  drawing-room,  a  bath,  worth 
twenty-seven  marks  in  Berlin.  My  breakfast,  that  is  two 
marks ;  a  cigar,  one  mark ;  lunch,  six  marks ;  benedictine, 
two  marks;  another  cigar,  one  mark;  coffee,  one  mark; 
dinner,  seven  marks;  liqueur,  three  marks;  cigars  and 
coffee,  two  marks.  Then  I  have  my  chauffeur  and  my 
valet.  All  free.  I  pay  nothing.  Fine,  eh?  Altogether 


I  have  seventy  or  eighty  marks'  worth  every  day 

"  That  sounds  like  an  easy  way  of  getting  a  living. 
Don't  you  pay  the  Belgians  for  anything?  " 

"  No,"  he  said.  "  If  one  is  a  German  officer,  one  goes 
into  any  restaurant,  any  hotel  in  Antwerp,  and  one  signs 
one's  name  for  the  things  one  eats.  Like  a  club  in 
America,  eh  ?  It  is  by  the  menu  de  requisition.  How  do 
you  say  that  in  English  ?  " 

"  Requisition  bill-of-fare." 

:<  Yes.  And  the  city  pays  all.  The  restaurant  keeper 
sends  the  bill  to  the  city.  Fine,  eh?  And  we  Germans 
eat  and  drink  very  much !  Everything  is  requisitioned." 

"  Do  they  pay  even  for  champagne  suppers?  " 


"  Does  the  city  pay  your  wine  bills  ?  " 

"  Certainly." 

"Don't  the  people  object?" 

The  Lieutenant  drew  himself  up  proudly.  "  They  are 
Belgians;  we  are  Germans.  They  make  no  objections. 
.  .  .  Ah,  here  are  your  Scheins" 

A  soldier  clicked  his  heels  and  presented  three  sheets 
of  green  paper,  duly  filled  out  in  longhand  and  stamped 
"  Kommandantur  von  Antwerpen." 

"Thanks,  Lieutenant.  Thanks  especially  for  arrang- 
ing it  so  we  can  go  to  Brussels  by  auto.  The  English 
newspapers  say  you  haven't  many  automobiles  and  no 
benzine.  We  appreciate  your  kindness." 


lie  smiled  broadly.  "  So?  You  can  see  we  have 
many  automobiles  in  Antwerp,  and  we  have  benzol  in- 
stead of  benzine.  We  have  potatoes  for  alcohol;  we 
have  coal;  so  we  have  plenty  of  benzol,  eh?  ...  A  mo- 
ment," he  added.  "  Perhaps  I  go  to  Brussels  tomorrow 
morning.  Then  I  take  you.  I  will  show  you  the  ruins. 
Very  interesting.  Very  nice  ruins." 

"  Oh,  thanks  awfully." 

"  Eight  o'clock,  then,  we  start.    I  will  show  you  the 


We  three  Americans  bowed  ceremoniously  and  walked 
out.  On  the  steps  below  the  sign  lettered  "Pass-Zen- 
trale,  Antwerpen"  and  " Intendantur "  a  sentry  drew 
aside  and  stood  a  salute.  Herbster,  U.  S.  N.,  smiled 
happily  at  the  compliment.  "  The  '  Deutschers  '  aren't 
so  awful,  are  they?  "  he  asked.  ..."  Now  let's  go  look 
at  what  the  Zeppelins  did  to  Antwerp ! " 


At  eight  o'clock  in  the  morning,  German  time,  Lieu- 
tenant Sperling's  gray  Mercedes  car  stood  puffing  outside 
our  hotel.  We  climbed  hastily  into  the  tonneau  and 
buried  ourselves  to  the  chin  under  fur  rugs  and  lap  robes. 
It  was  mercilessly  cold  and  black  as  ink.  A  drizzle  of 
icy  rain  fell,  and  the  streets  were  dark  and  dead  as  a 
buried  city.  The  Lieutenant  flashed  a  pocket  lamp  over 
the  car  and  its  occupants.  By  the  flashlight  we  saw  two 


rifles  standing  stiff  and  forbidding  beside  the  military 
chauffeur,  and  in  the  bottom  of  the  car,  two  packets  of 
official  mail  destined  for  the  Governor-General  in 

"Right?"  asked  Lieutenant  Sperling,  slipping  into  a 
balloon  silk  raincoat  and  preparing  to  drive  the  automo- 
bile himself. 

"  Right/'  we  answered,  our  teeth  chattering. 

'  You  remember  the  musical-comedy,  *  Pink  Lady '?  " 
he  asked.  "  I  have  seen  her  in  New  York."  And  as 
we  slid  from  before  the  lighted  hotel  into  the  dark,  dead 
tunnel-like  streets  of  Antwerp,  he  began  lustily  to  sing: 

"  To  you,  beeyoutifool  ladie,  I  raise  my  eyes ; 
My  heart,  beeyoutifool  ladie,  to  your  heart  sighs."  .   .   . 

A  red  lantern,  waving  in  crazy  arcs,  stopped  us  at  the 
city  gates.  "  Halt!  halt!  wohinf  "  bellowed  rough  voices 
from  the  gloom.  "  General  Government !  "  the  chauffeur 
answered.  "  Good !  "  came  the  response,  and  we  dashed 
on  down  the  road.  This  happened  seven  times  in  an 
hour's  ride,  except  that  the  lantern  gave  place  to  a  red 
flag  as  morning  advanced. 

Darkness  and  a  misty  rain  still  hid  everything.  We 
could  scarcely  see  each  other's  faces.  There  was  no  sun- 
rise on  that  cold  November  morning.  It  seemed  instead 
as  if  the  rain  slowly  became  luminous  as  light  fought  its 
way  from  the  east.  The  landscape  lay  blurred  and 


drenched — a  vista  of  burned  villages  and  muddy  roads. 
It  was  a  country  seen  through  tears. 

Lieutenant  Sperling's  pleasant  chatter  roused  us  at 
intervals.  "You  see  that?"  he  asked,  p9inting  with 
pride  to  a  hillock  near  the  road.  I  fancied  I  saw  the 
pin  of  an  old  windmill  and  a  clutter  of  ruins.  "A  Zep- 
pelin did  that,"  he  went  on.  "  It  was  a  practice  shot." 

We  raced  along  beside  heaps  of  bricks  and  ashes 
which  had  once  been  picturesque  Flemish  villages.  The 
whitewashed  walls  were  shrapnel-pitted,  so  that  the 
bricks  showed  through  red,  like  blood.  In  frozen,  muddy 
fields  along  our  route,  bent  old  peasants  worked  on 
turnip  mounds.  Cabbages  lay  heels  up  in  hillocks  which 
looked  as  if  they  must  have  served  some  military  pur- 
pose. There  were  trenches  in  almost  every  line  of  brush 
or  trees  along  the  Antwerp-Brussels  highway:  careless, 
grubby  trenches  built  by  the  Belgians,  mathematical, 
business-like,  criss-cross  trenches  built  by  the  invaders. 
There  were  quick  burrows  which  a  man  could  throw  up 
in  a  quarter  of  an  hour  with  his  kit  shovel,  pits  with 
sharpened  stakes  in  them  to  break  up  cavalry  charges, 
and  brambly  barbed-wire  entanglements  which  looked  as 
if  they  had  been  woven  by  a  crazy  spider,  and  which 
were  frosted  and  dripping  like  a  spider  web  on  a  win- 
ter's morning. 

The  rain  changed  to  a  drizzle,  and  we  could  see  much 
better,  but  our  depression  grew.  I  was  fated  to  travel 
that  Antwerp-Brussels  highway  for  a  year,  but  always 


with  the  same  feeling  of  sadness  which  I  felt  on  first 
seeing  it.  Innumerable  trees  were  scarred  by  shells. 
Huge  holes,  half  full  of  mud  and  ice,  were  gouged  in 
roads  and  fields.  Farm-house  after  farm-house  had  been 
burned  or  else  destroyed  by  shell-fire.  And  once  we 
noticed  a  broken  cradle  beside  what  had  been  a  doorway 
in  the  murdered  village  of  Waelhem. 

"  Good  shooting,"  remarked  Lieutenant  Sperling. 
"  Our  artillery,  I  think  it  is  the  best  in  the  world,  eh?  " 

At  the  bitterly  contested  crossing  of  the  river  Nethe, 
where  the  Belgians  fought  to  hold  the  enemy  from  the 
advance  on  Antwerp,  where  they  flooded  the  country, 
blew  up  all  the  bridges,  and  charged  again  and  again  in 
the  face  of  overwhelming  artillery  fire,  there  stood  a  lit- 
tle earthen  mound  and  a  big  black  cross.  The  inscrip- 
tion was  in  German  script,  lettered  white  on  black.  I 
caught  only  a  part  of  it  while  the  sentries  examined  our 
passes.  "  Thirty-eight  brave  soldiers  who  died  for  the 
Fatherland,"  it  read.  I  do  not  know  if  the  dead  were 
Belgians  or  Germans.  The  conquerors  write  the  same 
words  over  fallen  foes  as  over  friends. 

Beside  the  bridge  stood  a  Belgian  with  a  collection 
box,  begging  contributions  for  the  poor  of  Wael- 

The  embankments  and  gun-cupolas  of  Fort  Waelhem, 
first  of  the  Antwerp  forts  to  fall,  were  plowed  up  as  if 
by  a  gigantic  steam-shovel.  "  Forty-two  centimeter 
shells,"  explained  the  Lieutenant.  The  fort  was  a  gravel 


bank.  And  all  along  the  road  were  graves.  Men  had 
been  buried  as  they  fell ;  sometimes  singly,  sometimes  in 
groups.  Each  grave  was  marked  with  a  new  lath  cross. 
Some  of  the  crosses  bore  bunches  of  artificial  flowers  or 
wreaths,  or  simple  crowns  of  tissue  paper,  dripping  with 
wet.  Some  of  them  held  a  German  Pickelhaube,  or  else 

a  shapeless,  flat  service-cap. 


But  the  village  of  Waelhem  was  most  pitiful.  It  was 
a  living  grave.  Of  its  two  thousand  inhabitants,  twelve 
hundred  had  already  returned.  Not  a  house  in  the  vil- 
lage had  been  spared,  yet  the  refugees  came  back  to  their 
hearthsides,  and  were  living  in  huts  constructed  against 
the  empty  brick  walls,  with  curtains  of  bed-clothing  to 
keep  out  the  beating  rain. 

And  romantic,  unworldly  Malines  was  a  city  of  gray 
ghosts.  The  gray  rain  fell  incessantly,  but  we  could  see 
the  south  side  of  the  famous  cathedral  of  Saint  Rombaut, 
a  mass  of  repulsive  wreckage,  in  which  the  big  stained- 
glass  windows  hung  shattered  and  inert,  and  the  gigantic 
tower — the  "  eighth  wonder  of  the  world,"  according  to 
Vauban — punctured  with  shrapnel,  where  the  dead  bells 
of  the  carillon  still  hung.  German  soldiers  lounged  be- 
fore the  dilapidated  old  Cloth  Hall.  Our  automobile 
passed  through  a  Red  Sea  of  debris  piled  higher  than  the 
tonneau  on  either  side  of  the  market-place.  Walls  were 
sheered  away  like  theater-sets,  showing  flowered  wall- 
papers and  battered  furniture,  and  floors  cascading  craz- 
ily  down  to  the  street.  Three  hundred  and  fifteen  houses 


had  been  totally  destroyed  and  fifteen  hundred  damaged, 
for  Malines  was  bombarded  four  times. 

Near  Eppeghem  a  white  swan  paddled  serenely  in  an 
ornamental  pond.  On  the  borders  of  the  pond  were 
crosses  marking  graves,  and  willows  burned  and  slashed 
by  shells. 

A  few  farm-houses,  made  habitable  again,  bore  the 
magic  words  "  chocolate  "  and  "  milk  "  chalked  up  on 
doors,  so  the  returning  refugees  might  buy. 

It  was  with  vast  relief  that  we  reached  Brussels,  where 
there  had  been  no  fighting  and  no  destruction,  where 
beauty  was  unmarred  by  the  ruin  of  war,  even  if  be- 
draggled and  ashamed. 

A  stiff  line  of  German  Boy  Scouts  stood  before  the 
beautiful  hotels  on  the  Pare,  where  Governor-General 
von  der  Goltz  had  his  offices.  They  looked  pathetically 
tired  and  lonely  so  far  from  home,  but  kept  eyes  front 
and  shoulders  back  like  maturer  servants  of  the  Kaiser. 
Lieutenant  Sperling  smiled  as  we  drew  up  before  them, 
but  he  returned  their  salute  gravely.  "Jung  Deutsch- 
land!  Young  Germany,"  he  whispered  to  us.  ... 

"  And  now  for  the  Hotel  Astoria,  on  the  rue  Royale, 
eh  ?  "  he  said.  "  You  will  be  the  only  foreigners  in  the 
hotel.  It  is  for  Germans.  Requisitioned."  As  we  drew 
up  at  the  curb,  he  was  still  singing  lustily: 

"  To  you,  beeyoutifool  ladie,  I  raise  my  eyes ; 
My  heart,  beeyoutifool  ladie,  to  your  heart  sighs; 


Come,  come,  beeyoutifool  ladie,  to  Paradise. 

Dream,  dream,  dream,  and  forget 

Care,  pain,  useless  regret, 

Love,  love,  beeyoutifool  ladie,  in  my  heart  sings." 


Several  times  after  that  we  had  occasion  to  use  our 
military  passes  and  to  ride  in  German  automobiles.  The 
officers  always  seemed  glad  to  have  us,  and  they  seemed 
to  us  amazingly  boyish  and  care-free.  What  they 
wanted,  they  took.  They  even  requisitioned  women's 
underwear  from  lockers  in  the  Brussels  Golf  Club, 
and  of  course  wine  was  always  fair  spoils,  whether 
paid  for  by  the  Intendantur  or  not.  Almost  every  one 
of  them  had  an  automobile  at  his  disposal,  and  they 
appeared  everywhere,  riding  freely  about  the  country 
in  spite  of  the  fabled  shortage  of  gasolene  and  tires. 
The  peasants,  whether  on  foot  or  in  their  little  dog- 
and  donkey-carts,  were  desperately  afraid  of  the  "  joy- 
riders." The  screech  of  a  Klaxon,  or  the  shrill,  frivo- 
lous yodel  of  an  automobile  fife,  such  as  many  of 
the  German  motorists  affected,  would  clear  the  narrow 
Flemish  roads  quick  as  light.  But  that  was  not  always 
enough  to  satisfy  the  officers.  They  howled  picturesque 
German  curses  at  the  ignorant  peasant  drivers,  apparently 
for  the  fun  of  the  thing,  and  then  whizzed  off  down  the 
road,  giving  horn  with  all  the  delight  of  a  coaching  party 
in  a  Dickens  novel. 

Among  themselves  they  were  a  good-natured,  senti- 


mental  lot  of  warriors,  in  spick  and  span  uniforms  and 
well  greased  boots.  Most  of  them  were  typical,  square- 
headed,  smooth-shaven,  slash-cheeked  giants,  who  seemed 
to  be  playing  at  a  game  called  war.  Many  times  they 
carried  with  them  in  the  automobile,  gifts  for  the  sen- 
tries along  the  route:  cakes  of  chocolate,  cigars,  or 
copies  of  the  Kolnische  Zeitung,  Berliner  Tageblatt, 
Kreuz  Zeitung,  Die  Woche,  and  Frankfurter  Zeitung. 
Sometimes  the  sentries  stopped  us;  more  often  they  did 
not ;  but  on  one  occasion  when  a  conscientious  sentry  did 
his  full  duty  and  compelled  every  one  in  the  car,  officers 
included,  to  show  passes,  a  major  told  me  the  classic 
story  of  Kaiser  Wilhelm  Second  at  the  Prussian  manceu- 
vers,  attempting  to  dash  past  a  sentry.  The  sentry 
promptly  presented  his  rifle  and  compelled  the  imperial 
automobile  to  halt. 

"  Do  you  know  me  ?  "  demanded  the  Kaiser  angrily, 
removing  his  automobile  goggles  and  glaring  at  the  sol- 

" Ja,  Majestat"  answered  the  sentry,  "but  I  have 
orders  to  stop  everybody." 

"  Umph ! "  snorted  the  Kaiser.  Then  his  stern  face 
melted  into  a  smile.  "  You  are  right,  my  son,"  he  said, 
and  he  saluted  the  soldier  and  ordered  the  car  to  go 
back  by  the  way  it  had  come.  .  .  . 

I  have  seen  the  sentries  give  money  or  other  little  gifts 
to  Flemish  children.  Frequently  the  men  on  sentry  duty 


were  old  Landsturm  soldiers  who  had  children  of  their 
own  in  the  Fatherland,  and  with  characteristic  German 
sentiment  felt  deeply  their  privation.  On  the  whole  the 
sentries  were  simple,  ignorant  men,  anxious  to  please, 
and  mystified  by  the  elaborate  orders  they  had  to  exe- 
cute. Usually  they  were  much  astonished  to  learn  my 
nationality.  Once  when  a  sentry  had  carefully  studied 
my  passport,  he  said  in  a  pleasant  tone  of  astonishment : 
"  Ah,  so  you  are  an  American !  " 

"  Yes,"  I  answered.  Then,  thinking  the  man  had  been 
in  America,  I  asked  if  he  had  traveled  much. 

"  Ach,  nein"  he  said  emphatically,  "  Belgium  is  quite 
far  enough  from  home !  " 

Brussels,  the  proud  Paris  of  the  north,  clung  desper- 
ately to  her  self-respect  and  tried  to  ignore  the  Germans. 
Shutters  were  up  on  many  of  the  fashionable  shops. 
The  best  hotels  were  full  of  officers  who  lived  by  requisi- 
tion. General  von  Luttwitz,  military  governor  of  Brus- 
sels, inhabited  a  beautiful  palace  on  the  rue  de  la  Loi, — 
a  magnificent  residence  with  priceless  carpets  and  enor- 
mous cloisonne  vases  on  the  grand  staircase.  Such 
places  were  hives  of  soldiers;  orderlies  rushed  to  and 
fro  carrying  rabbits  and  pheasants  for  the  general's 
table,  and  a  persistent  smell  of  soup  swam  through 
the  mansion.  The  Germans  stinted  themselves  for 

Beggars  wandered  about  the  streets.    Women  holding 


young  babies  in  their  arms  stood  on  all  the  curbs,  beg- 
ging openly,  or  selling  matches  and  shoestrings.  On  the 
street  cars,  where  soldiers  rode  free,  citizens  proudly 
turned  their  backs,  or  refused  to  sit  beside  the  hated  uni- 
forms, and  in  the  crowded  cafes  they  frequently  left  the 
place  entirely  rather  than  sip  beer  or  coffee  beside  the 

It  was  hard  for  Belgian  pride.  There  were  no  flags 
but  German  flags;  there  was  very  little  currency,  except 
German  marks  and  pfennigs,  for  the  people  hoarded  their 
Belgian  National  Bank  notes,  and  silver  and  copper  had 
ceased  to  circulate;  there  was  no  opera;  there  were  no 
theaters;  there  were  only  a  few  moving-picture  shows, 
where  John  Bunny  and  Lillian  Walker  smiled  on  Bel- 
gians and  Germans  alike  from  the  flickering  films.  The 
Royal  Palace  was  a  Red  Cross  hospital.  On  the  heights 
beside  the  Palais  de  Justice — the  Acropolis  of  Brussels 
— German  cannon  frowned  down  upon  the  city.  The 
Grand'  Place  echoed  to  soldiers'  steps,  and  the  rue  de  la 
Loi,  beside  the  Pare,  was  closed  to  all  but  Germans.  The 
splendors  of  Brussels  dripped  ooze,  her  park  walks  were 
churned  up  by  the  hooves  of  German  war-horses,  and 
even  the  alleys  "  reserved  for  children's  games  "  were 
appropriated  for  the  drilling  of  raw  cavalrymen.  Thou- 
sands of  Belgians  every  day  besieged  the  Pass  Bureau 
for  permits  to  travel.  The  soup  kitchens  and  bread  lines 
were  thronged.  There  was  no  work  to  do.  The  rust  of 
idleness  was  on  everything.  An  occasional  aeroplane 


from  the  Allies  dropped  little  celluloid  tubes  containing 
encouraging  news,  but  the  Germans,  waging  a  success- 
ful war,  insolently  published  all  the  news,  even  the  offi- 
cial reports  of  the  Allies. 

Above  the  prostrate  Belgians,  like  another  race  or 
another  caste,  roared  and  flashed  the  brilliant,  careless, 
militaristic  Teutons,  their  lives  hedged  about  with  glory 
and  sudden  death. 

When  an  officer  went  to  the  front,  his  fellows  gave 
him  a  huge  dinner.  They  drank  much,  occasionally  they 
wept  a  little,  but  he  whose  duty  it  was  to  go  always  made 
the  occasion  one  for  congratulations  and  conviviality. 
Then  in  his  spickest  and  spannest  new  gray-green  uni- 
form, with  the  black-and-white  ribbon  of  the  Iron  Cross 
in  his  buttonhole,  he  climbed  into  a  waiting  automobile 
and  shot  noisily  down  the  dark  streets  on  his  way  to  the 

For  a  week  the  King  of  Saxony  had  the  rooms  directly 
below  our  suite  in  the  Hotel  Astoria.  Governor-General 
Kolmar  von  der  Goltz  ("Goltz  Pasha")  was  a  caller 
at  our  hotel.  I  saw  him  the  day  he  left  Belgium  for 
Turkey.  He  was  a  big,  heavy  man,  with  keen,  humorous 
eyes  behind  his  thick  glasses;  his  left  breast  smothered 
in  decorations.  There  was  some  sort  of  wen  on  his  left 
cheek,  and  he  wore  two  strips  of  black  court-plaster  set 
at  right  angles  across  it,  looking  ludicrously  like  the 
Iron  Cross.  .  .  .  One  day  there  was  unusual  stir  among 


the  officers.  "  Be  here  at  ten  o'clock  tomorrow  morn- 
ing," they  said,  "and  you  will  see  the  Kaiser."  But  I 
had  business  elsewhere,  and  so  missed  the  golden  oppor- 
tunity to  look  on  the  War  Lord. 

Late  one  night,  Lieutenant  Herbster  and  I  were  invited 
to  meet  some  of  the  officers.  It  was  nearly  midnight. 
The  group  about  the  long  table  in  the  Hotel  Astoria 
had  been  drinking,  so  that  our  intrusion  produced  a 
marked  effect.  There  was  much  bowing  and  scraping, 
clicking  of  heels,  and  commenting,  the  nature  of  which 
I  did  not  altogether  understand.  But  I  found  myself 
seated  at  the  table,  face  to  face  with  the  aide  to  a 
colonel  high  in  command  in  Brussels,  and  found  to  my 
astonishment  that  I  had  known  the  man  as  a  student  in 
Harvard  University. 

The  colonel — a  hard,  thin  old  Prussian,  who  was 
partly  drunk  and  genuinely  offensive — gave  me  a  taste 
of  what  some  of  the  Germans  thought  of  American  re- 
lief for  Belgium.  "  You  Americans  are  a  nation  of 
sentimental  fools,"  he  snorted.  "  You  want  to  feed 
these  franc-tireurs,  these  barbarians  of  Belgians.  If  you 
did  the  right  thing,  you  would  give  the  German  army  the 
food  that  you  are  bringing  over  for  these  wretches."  .  .  . 

Directly  across  the  table  was  an  officer  named 
Coumbus,  a  fine-looking  man  of  perhaps  thirty-five,  who 
had  resided  for  years  in  England,  and  was  an  officer  of 
cavalry.  His  perfect  English  and  agreeable  manners  at- 
tracted Lieutenant  Herbster  and  me,  and  after  the  other 


officers  had  withdrawn,  the  three  of  us  still  sat  and 

"There  are  a  lot  of  wounded  Africans  in  a  hospital 
here  in  Brussels/'  he  informed  us.  "  And  in  one  ward 
the  doctor  has  been  clever  enough  to  put  a  Scotchman 
along  with  the  niggers.  I  go  up  every  day  to  visit  him. 
Do  you  know,  it  pleases  me  to  see  that  Johnnie  lying 
there  with  his  face  to  the  wall,  trying  to  keep  out  the 
smell  of  the  blacks.  .  .  .  Damn  these  inferior  races ! 

"The  Belgians  are  the  poorest  of  the  lot,  though. 
They  do  not  understand  war,  and  they  do  not  understand 
the  rules  of  war.  I  remember  once  riding  into  a  little 
town  down  here  in  the  south  of  Belgium  and  finding  my 
four  scouts  lying  dead  in  the  streets.  Civilians  had 
butchered  horses  and  men — shot  them  from  behind.  I 
ordered  my  men  to  go  into  the  houses  and  kill  every  one 
they  found.  Then  I  ordered  them  to  burn  the  town." 

He  leaned  over  the  table  and  concluded  quietly,  "  There 
once  was  a  nice  little  town  in  that  place.  There  is  no 
such  town  now."  .  .  . 

There  was  a  cat-and-mouse  air  about  the  occupation. 
The  army  seemed  to  play  with  the  country,  and  thor- 
oughly to  enjoy  itself.  But  with  this  went  also  the 
traditional  German  enthusiasm  for  sight-seeing  in  order 
to  improve  the  mind.  Some  of  the  officers  and  most  of 
the  men  were  in  Belgium  for  the  first  time.  They  felt  it 
was  an  opportunity  not  to  be  lost,  and  I  often  saw  them 


with  little  red-bound  Baedekers  in  their  pockets,  "  do- 
ing "  the  Belgian  cities  with  the  thoroughness  of  holiday 

Herr  Baedeker  is  singularly  felicitous  in  some 
of  his  Belgian  notes,  if  read  in  connection  with  the 
war.  "  Dixmude,"  he  remarks  blandly,  "  is  a  quiet  little 
town  on  the  Yser ! "  "  Nieuport  is  a  small  and  quiet 
place  on  the  Yser,  noted  for  its  obstinate  resistance  to 
the  French  in  1489  and  for  the  '  Battle  of  the  Dunes '  in 
July,  1600,  in  which  the  Dutch  defeated  the  Spaniards 
under  Archduke  Albert."  Of  Termonde  he  says, 
"Louis  XIV  besieged  this  place  in  1667,  but  was  com- 
pelled to  retreat,  as  the  besieged,  by  opening  the  sluices, 
laid  the  whole  district  under  water."  Blankenberghe  is 
"a  small  fishing  town  with  6,100  inhabitants,  visited  by 
45,000  persons  annually,  half  of  whom  are  Germans ! " 
And  of  unhappy  Ypres  the  learned  author  observes, 
"  The  siege  of  the  town  and  burning  of  the  suburbs  by 
the  English  and  the  burghers  of  Ghent  in  1383  caused 
the  last  of  the  weavers  to  migrate !  " 


But  the  Germans  were  working  as  well  as  playing. 
Their  organizing  power  was  amazing.  To  choose  an  ex- 
pert, to  put  him  in  charge  of  a  department,  to  give  him 
a  clerk  or  two,  and  then  to  leave  him  alone,  seemed  all 
there  is  to  the  modern  miracle  of  German  administra- 


Belgium  was  not  treated  as  an  administrative  unit.  Gov- 
ernor-General von  der  Goltz,  and  later  Governor-General 
von  Bissing,  controlled  only  about  two-thirds  of  the  ter- 
ritory actually  occupied  by  the  German  armies.  Ant- 
werp, Brussels,  Liege,  Namur,  Dinant,  Mons, — all  these 
fell  to  his  share.  But  Ghent  was  in  a  second  division, 
governed  by  a  general  of  the  Etapp *  en-Inspection. 
Bruges  constituted  still  another  division,  controlled  by  an 
admiral  of  the  Imperial  navy,  where  sailors  from  the 
fleets  in  Hamburg,  Kiel,  and  Wilhelmshaven,  their  rib- 
bons tucked  up  under  their  sailor  caps  and  in  landsman's 
uniforms,  fought  as  infantry.  And  along  the  fighting 
lines  in  Belgium  and  northern  France,  each  army 
corps  was  a  separate  unit  of  government,  responsible 
only  to  the  General  Staff  Headquarters  at  Charleville,  or 
to  the  Emperor  personally. 

"  But  in  Belgium  it  is  like  the  old  religious  and  secu- 
lar governments  in  the  Middle  Ages/'  they  explained. 
"  We  have  always  a  civil  and  a  military  arm  to  our  gov- 
ernment. In  each  Belgian  province  the  government  is 
dual.  In  each  military  county  (Kreis)  or  Belgian  ar- 
rondissement,  we  have  Kreischef  and  commandant. 
You  have  seen  it?  Even  the  villages  are  garrisoned  and 
governed.  We  do  not  interfere  with  the  Belgian  local 
self-government  or  the  local  courts;  but  we  have  our 
dual  government  to  oversee  them.  We  have  soldiers 

"And  spies?" 


"  Spies,  too.  The  Belgians  must  be  quiet.  His  Ex- 
cellency the  Governor  has  promised  the  armies  that  Bel- 
gium will  be  kept  quiet.  That  is  most  important." 

"  Do  you  expect  outbreaks  ?  " 

"  We  expect — everything  and  nothing.  We  anticipate 
everything.  That  is  the  German  way.  .  .  .  The  Bel- 
gians will  be  kept  quiet." 

The  new  Governor-General,  Baron  von  Bissing,  took 
office  immediately  after  "  Goltz  Pasha  "  left  for  Turkey. 
His  position  carried  with  it  the  dignity  and  authority  of 
royalty.  His  proclamations  were  written  in  the  first  per- 
son :  "  I  command.  ...  I  ordain.  ...  I  decree."  They 
say  that  in  his  youth  Governor-General  von  Bissing  was 
a  chum  of  the  Kaiser's  and  that  the  Kaiser  used  to  pay 
the  bills  at  a  time  when  his  friend's  personal  fortune 
was  too  small  to  permit  even  of  the  ordinary  expendi- 
tures of  a  dashing  young  army  officer.  If  that  is  true 
General  von  Bissing  has  advanced  a  long  way  since  then. 
He  lives  in  a  Belgian  palace,  he  rules  a  nation,  and  he 
stands  on  a  par,  under  the  War  Lord,  with  the  petty 
monarchs  of  some  of  the  oldest  German  states. 

Many  officers  in  the  Civil  Government  were  Germans 
who  had  lived  for  years  in  Belgium  and  had  been  on 
excellent  terms  with  the  Belgian  Government  and  peo- 
ple. Others  had  made  special  studies  of  Belgian  condi- 
tions. The  German  Civil  Governor  in  Brussels,  Excel- 
lenz  von  Sandt,  was  formerly  president  of  the  Local 


Government  Board  at  Aix-la-Chapelle ;  the  head  of  the 
Department  of  Engineering  and  Public  Works,  Coun- 
cilor of  Justice  Trimborn  of  Cologne  and  member  of  the 
Reichstag,  was  formerly  German  Consul-General  in 
Brussels;  the  head  of  the  Brussels  Pass  Bureau,  Lieu- 
tenant Behrens,  was,  until  the  day  war  broke  out,  head 
of  a  pool  of  shipping  companies  in  Antwerp  and  had 
resided  there  for  years.  The  Belgains  doubtless  were 
right  in  believing  that  their  conquerors  knew  where  every 
stick  of  furniture,  every  horse  and  cow,  every  cart  and 
automobile,  every  man,  every  gun,  and  every  franc  in 
Belgium  was  to  be  found.  .  .  . 

I  called  one  day  at  the  offices  of  the  Civil  Govern- 
ment in  Brussels,  called  in  German  Zivilverwaltung ,  to 
learn  something  of  Belgian  agricultural  conditions  in 
normal  years.  Herr  Doktor  Frost  was  introduced  to  me 
— a  thin,  studious  young  man  in  lieutenant's  uniform,  to 
whom  I  explained  my  wants.  "  How  much  wheat,  how 
much  rye,  how  much  oats,  how  much  barley  does  Bel- 
gium produce  in  average  years  ?  "  I  asked. 

Lieutenant  Frost  smiled  and  leaned  across  his  study- 
desk,  pointing  to  a  bulky  blue-bound  book  lying  before 
him.  "  Look  in  the  book,"  he  said,  smiling  as  if  at  a 
joke.  "  Page  367;  paragraph  two.  You  find  it?  Yes?  " 

I  pored  over  the  concise  academic  tables  with  their 
crisp  footnotes  in  German  script.  Every  bit  of  informa- 
tion I  wanted  regarding  the  crops  of  Belgium  stood  on 
that  page.  Then  I  closed  the  book  and  scanned  the 


cover.      "  The  Agricultural  Resources  of  Belgium,"  it 
read;  "by  Doctor  Walther  Frost,  Munich,  1913."  .  .  . 

The  retreat  of  the  Belgian  armies  and  government  had 
removed  every  trace  of  national  organization.  King, 
Cabinet,  and  Parliament  were  lost  at  a  stroke.  The 
Royal  Provincial  Governors  were  deprived  of  their  seats, 
and  the  nine  provinces  and  their  constituent  communes 
were  isolated  and  prostrate. 

The  only  nucleus  of  a  governmental  connection  be- 
tween the  invaders  and  the  Belgian  people  was  the  Bel- 
gian Permanent  Deputation — a  sort  of  executive  com- 
mittee of  the  Provincial  Councils,  which  exists  whether 
the  councils  are  sitting  or  adjourned.  Its  powers  are  not 
important.  The  Royal  Provincial  Governor  is  its  presi- 
dent. Now,  by  military  decree,  the  German  Civil  Gov- 
ernors assumed  the  presidency  of  the  nine  Permanent 
Deputations,  and  the  structure  of  civil  government  was 
re-erected.  The  communal  authorities  were,  for  the 
most  part,  left  in  possession  of  their  normal  powers  and 
responsibilities,  subject  always  to  the  military.  The  Bel- 
gian courts  were  not  greatly  disturbed,  although  their 
decisions  were  subject  to  military  review.  Belgian  agents 
de  police,  in  uniform,  but  deprived  of  their  short  cut- 
lasses, kept  order  in  the  communes ;  Belgians  manned  the 
fire-departments  and  kept  the  prisons;  Belgian  customs 
officers  served  at  the  frontiers,  although  their  services 
were  largely  perfunctory;  Belgian  employees  managed 


the  street-  and  light  railways,  although  the  regular 
state  railways  were  entirely  in  the  hands  of  the  mili- 
tary and  no  Belgian  could  go  near  them ;  Belgian  gardes 
champetres  continued  to  serve  as  rural  police;  Belgian 
burgomasters  and  aldermen  went  through  the  motions, 
at  least,  of  local  self-government;  and  the  Belgian  relief 
work,  whether  feeding  and  clothing  the  destitute,  or  giv- 
ing money  to  the  needy,  remained  entirely  outside  the 
German  sphere  of  influence,  in  the  hands  of  the  Belgians 
and  the  \merican  nembers  of  the  Commission  for  Re- 
lief in  Belgium.  The  sole  exception  was  the  Belgian 
Red  Cross  which  was  taken  over  bodily  by  the  German 
authorities  and  placed  under  the  control  of  a  German 
administration  with  Prince  Hatzfeldt  at  its  head. 

Two  things  the  Germans  wanted  of  the  Belgians — 
quiet  and  cash.    These  two  things  they  got.1 
*  See  Appendix  II,  page  331- 




FEW  know  in  detail  the  situation  in  which  Belgium 
found  herself  in  the  autumn  of  1914.  The  invasion  by 
the  German  armies  overwhelmed  the  country  almost  as 
completely  as  an  avalanche  overwhelms  a  village  lying  in 
its  path.  The  superstructure  of  civilized  society  was 
swept  away. 

Belgium  had  been  the  most  highly  industrialized  coun- 
try in  the  world.  It  imported  seventy-eight  per  cent  of 
its  breadstuffs.  Its  own  agricultural  products  afforded 
sustenance  to  the  population  for  only  four  months  out 
of  the  year.  For  the  other  eight  months  the  country 
was  dependent  upon  imported  foods;  much  of  them 
quickly  perishable.  A  peaceable  interruption  of  overseas 
or  overland  commerce  would  have  brought  the  whole 
country  into  immediate  sight  of  starvation,  even  without 
the  horrors  of  invasion. 

For  weeks  following  the  outbreak  of  war  trans- 
atlantic traffic  was  virtually  suspended.  American  food- 
stuffs remained  in  American  warehouses  while  European 
consumers  were  in  growing  need  of  them.  The  ship  in 



which  I  sailed  for  Europe  on  August  twenty-fourth 
carried  a  large  cargo  of  flour,  for  the  distress  in  neutral 
Holland  was  acute  even  in  the  first  month  of  the  war. 
Belgium  was  suffering  as  much  as  or  more  than  Hol- 
land ;  but  in  addition  to  this  the  land  was  overrun  by  the 
Germans,  and  an  acute  crisis  was  transformed  into  an 
overwhelming  disaster. 

Forty-nine  per  cent  of  the  population  were  salary  and 
wage  earners.  Almost  half  the  population,  then,  was 
dependent  on  the  normal  functioning  of  industry. 

Credit,  which  is  the  basis  of  modern  industrial  activity 
and  the  rock-bottom  basis  of  Belgium's  national  exist- 
ence, was  shattered  by  the  shock  of  the  German  armies. 
Within  ten  weeks  from  the  fourth  of  August  almost  the 
entire  country  was  in  the  possession  of  the  enemy.  With 
credit  destroyed,  production  came  to  an  instant  stand- 
still. Mines  and  workshops,  factories  and  mills  closed, 
and  panic  seized  the  land.  The  whole  of  the  working 
population  was  plunged  into  the  deepest  misery. 

The  harvest  was  being  gathered  as  war  broke  on  the 
country  and  the  ripe  crops  were  left  standing  in  the 
fields  where  they  were  trampled  by  the  armies  or  left  to 
rot.  Belgium  on  July  thirty-first  was  a  land  of  intense 
activity.  A  week  later  it  was  a  land  of  the  unemployed. 
July  thirty-first  found  1,757,489  men,  women,  and  chil- 
dren occupied  in  upwards  of  seven  hundred  industries. 
1,204,810  people  were  tilling  the  land.  August  seventh 
found  practically  every  man,  woman,  and  child  on  farms, 


in  fields,  on  canals,  on  railroads,  in  every  village,  town, 
and  city,  suddenly  idle,  without  work,  and  without  food. 

Preceding  the  westward  march  of  the  invaders  came 
a  wave  of  refugees.  Uprooted  from  the  soil,  flung  from 
villages  and  cities  invaded,  often  burned  and  pillaged, 
they  fled  westward,  carrying  with  them  panic  and  blind 
terror.  While  Belgium's  heroic  army  by  its  stand  at 
Liege  and  Namur  may  have  saved  Paris  and  Calais,  it 
could  not  save  its  own  country.  As  the  Germans  ad- 
vanced they  seized  every  line  of  communication, — the 
railroads,  street-cars,  canals,  telegraphs,  telephones,  and 
mails.  The  copper  nerves  and  iron  veins  which  are  the 
life  of  every  modern  nation  were  wrenched  from  the 
Belgians.  Every  village  was  cut  off  from  its  neighbor; 
every  town  from  the  next  town.  There  was  no  means 
of  transport,  except  for  German  troops,  so  that  every 
commune,  from  the  tiniest  village  to  the  greatest  city, 
was  suddenly  isolated,  ignorant  of  what  was  happening 
a  few  miles  off,  and  unable  to  ascertain  the  most  vital 
news,  except  through  a  few  hasty  words  that  might  fall 
from  the  shaking  lips  of  fugitives. 

Belgium  was  singular  among  industrial  nations  in  hav- 
ing a  great  mass  of  floating  labor.  The  policy  of  the 
Government-owned  railway  system  had  been  to  make 
transportation  for  the  working  classes  as  reasonable  as 
possible,  so  that  it  was  the  cheapest  system  of  transport 
in  the  world.  At  the  same  time  a  system  of  peasant 
proprietorship  in  land  had  been  fostered  for  many  years 


by  the  Government,  but  under  it  the  peasant  could  barely 
sustain  life.  The  man  of  the  family  often  migrated  from 
place  to  place  during  the  summer  months,  working  in  the 
mines,  in  the  farms  and  vineyards  of  France,  while  his 
wife  and  children  cultivated  his  tiny  holding.  By  strict 
economy  he  was  able  to  make  both  ends  meet,  although, 
even  so,  tens  of  thousands  of  workers  found  it  neces- 
sary during  the  winter  months  to  make  lace;  Belgium's 
great  lace-making  industry  being  largely  parasitic. 

J.  DeC.  MacDonnel  has  fitly  described  the  state  of 
these  workers.1  "  There  are  no  villages,  broadly  speak- 
ing, that  are  purely  agricultural.  Men  who  labor  in  the 
towns  continue  to  reside  in  the  most  distant  part  of  the 
country,  rising  in  the  first  hours  after  midnight  to  tramp 
miles  along  dark  roads  to  a  railroad  station,  and  travel 
thence  almost  incredible  distances,  day  after  day,  by 
train  to  their  work.  These  are  the  workmen  whom 
astonished  tourists  see  sleeping  in  doorways  and  by 
roadsides  in  the  streets  and  suburbs  of  Antwerp,  Brus- 
sels, Ghent,  or  any  of  the  Belgian  cities  during  the  mid- 
day hour  of  rest,  and  snoring  in  the  evening,  their  weary 
bodies  piled  on  top  of  each  other,  on  the  benches  and 
floors  of  the  waiting-rooms  of  railway  stations  and  in 
the  third  class  railway  carriages." 

Under  such  conditions,  transport  facilities,  and  the 

*J.  DeC.  MacDonnel's  Belgium,  Her  Kings,  Kingdom,  and 
People,  published  by  Little,  Brown  &  Co.,  is  an  interesting  though 
biased  account  of  conditions  before  the  war.  The  author  is  some- 
times a  better  churchman  than  historian. 


railways  in  particular,  were  essential  to  the  people ;  and 
these  were  the  first  of  Belgium's  necessities  upon  which 
the  Germans  seized.  Many  of  the  canals  were  blocked 
by  the  retreating  army ;  barges  were  sunk,  bridges  blown 
up,  and  dykes  cut ;  and  as  it  was  by  means  of  the  canals 
that  the  bulk  of  the  foodstuffs  normally  was  distributed 
over  the  country,  the  food-supply  was  automatically  cut 

As  the  Germans  occupied  town  after  town,  province 
after  province,  they  quartered  soldiers  upon  the  Belgians, 
and  these  hastened  the  consumption  of  what  little  food 
was  available.  General  von  Emmich's  proclamation  to 
the  Belgians  before  Liege  ran : 

I  gave  formal  guarantee  to  the  Belgian  population  that  it 
will  not  have  to  suffer  the  horrors  of  war ;  that  we  shall  pay 
in  money  for  the  food  we  must  take  from  the  country ;  that 
our  soldiers  will  show  themselves  to  be  the  best  friends  of 
a  people  for  whom  we  entertain  the  highest  esteem,  the 
greatest  sympathy. 

But  the  patriotic  resistance  of  the  Belgians  changed 
all  this.  General  von  Beseler's  despatch  to  the  Kaiser 
following  the  fall  of  Antwerp  is  typical  of  the  psy- 
chology of  the  soldier,  and  has  a  curiously  medieval 

The  war  booty  taken  at  Antwerp  is  enormous:  at  least 
500  cannon  and  huge  quantities  of  ammunition,  sanitation 
materials,  numerous  high-power  motor-cars,  locomotives, 


wagons,  4,000,000  kilograms  of  wheat,  large  quantities 
of  flour,  coal,  and  flax  wool,  the  value  of  which  is  estimated 
at  10,000,000  marks;  copper,  silver,  one  armored-train, 
several  hospital  trains,  and  quantities  of  fish. 

There  are  few  of  the  raw  materials  of  industry  which 
cannot  be  put  to  some  military  use.  A  great  part  of  the 
machinery  of  peace-time  can  be  converted  into  machinery 
with  which  to  manufacture  implements  of  war.  Above 
all  soldiers  need  food  and  consume  it  in  immense  quan- 
tities. Finding  all  these  things  at  hand  in  Belgium  the 
Germans  proceeded  to  commandeer  them  right  and  left. 
Linseed  oil,  oil-cakes,  nitrates,  animal  and  vegetable  oils 
of  all  sorts,  petroleum  and  mineral  oils,  wool,  copper, 
rubber,  ivory,  cocoa,  rice,  wine,  beer — anything  and 
everything  that  men  could  consume  or  that  the  German 
factories  could  utilize — were  seized  and  transported  to 
the  Fatherland.  In  many  cases  the  goods  were  con- 
fiscated; in  others  they  were  requisitioned  by  the  con- 
querors, a  price  was  decided  upon,  and  payment  prom- 
ised at  some  convenient  time  in  the  future. 

Belgium  was  gutted. 


From  the  isolated  communes  came  frantic  appeals  for 
help.  The  Belgians  appealed  first  to  the  Germans,  who 
in  some  cases  divided  their  army  rations  with  the  people, 
although  this  was  unsystematic  and  utterly  useless  when 
seven  millions  were  concerned.  They  appealed  to  their 


neighbor  Holland,  but  the  Dutch  were  eating  war  bread 
and  anxiously  hoarding  every  bit  of  foodstuff,  for  they 
were  as  yet  unable  to  import  enough  for  their  own  uses. 
They  appealed  to  Brussels,  sending  purchasing  agents 
with  dog-carts  to  buy  a  little  flour  and  potatoes  in  the 
open  market;  for  Brussels  was  officially  the  capital,  and 
they  were  accustomed  to  turn  to  Brussels. 

But  Brussels,  like  themselves,  was  isolated  and  face 
to  face  with  famine.  The  sole  advantage  it  possessed 
over  the  other  communes  was  a  volunteer  relief  organi- 
zation, called  the  Central  Relief  Committee  (le  Comite 
Central  de  Seeours  et  d' Alimentation  pour  I' Agglomera- 
tion bruxelloise) ,  formed  on  September  fifth  under  the 
patronage  of  the  American  and  Spanish  Ministers,  Mr. 
Brand  Whitlock  and  the  Marquis  of  Villalobar. 

In  every  little  village  there  was  a  Bureau  de  Bien- 
faisance;  often  there  was  a  Society  of  Saint  Vincent  de 
Paul  and  a  Comite  de  Seeours.  In  the  larger  cities  there 
were  sturdy  branches  of  the  Red  Cross,  with  committees 
of  charity,  cheap  restaurants,  committees  to  take  charge 
of  the  children  of  soldiers,  to  provide  proper  diet  for 
nursing  mothers,  and  a  variety  of  other  relief  organiza- 
tions, secular  and  religious,  such  as  the  Little  Sisters  of 
the  Poor,  mainly  under  the  auspices  of  the  Roman 
Catholic  Church. 

But  though  the  local  machinery  was  at  hand  there 
were  first  four  general  problems  to  face :  the  re-establish- 
ment of  order  and  credit  abroad;  the  right  to  transport 


foodstuffs  through  the  British  blockade  into  territory  in 
the  hands  of  the  Germans ;  the  right  to  use  the  transport 
facilities  of  Belgium  in  the  distribution  of  such  imports; 
and  the  securing  of  a  guarantee  that  the  Germans  would 
requisition  for  themselves  nothing  thus  imported  for  the 
Belgian  population. 

The  Central  Relief  Committee,  which  had  been  formed 
to  care  for  the  wants  of  Brussels,  appealed  through  its 
American  and  Spanish  Minister-patrons  to  Governor- 
General  Kolmar  von  der  Goltz  to  guarantee  the  safety 
of  any  supplies  which  might  be  purchased  or  donated 
abroad  for  the  benefit  of  the  Belgian  civil  population. 
On  October  sixteenth  the  Governor-General  gave  formal 
assurance  that  "  foodstuffs  of  all  sorts  imported  by  the 
Committee  to  assist  the  civil  population  shall  be  reserved 
exclusively  for  the  nourishment  of  the  civil  population 
of  Belgium,  and  that  consequently  these  foodstuffs  shall 
be  exempt  from  requisition  on  the  part  of  the  military 
authorities  and  shall  rest  exclusively  at  the  disposition 
of  the  Committee." 

Meanwhile  Mr.  Whitlock  had  appealed  officially  to  the 
United  States  Government.  In  the  London  Times  for 
Wednesday,  October  fourteenth,  1914,  is  the  following 
telegram : 

NEW  YORK,  October  13. — The  Administration  cannot 
permit  Mr.  Page  to  have  food  supplies  for  the  starving 
population  of  Brussels  shipped  in  his  name  to  Mr.  Whit- 
lock  until  the  German  Government  sanctions  this  step.  Mr. 


Page's  urgent  representations  concerning  the  immediate 
necessity  of  relieving  the  wants  of  Brussels  were  communi- 
cated to  Germany  last  Wednesday,  but  no  reply  has  yet 
been  received." 

Armed  with  the  assurance  given  by  Governor-General 
von  der  Goltz  that  nothing  imported  by  the  committee 
would  be  requisitioned  by  the  Germans,  Emile  Francqui 
and  Baron  Lambert  of  the  Central  Relief  Committee, 
and  Hugh  Gibson,  secretary  of  the  American  Lega- 
tion, went  to  London  to  explain  to  the  British  Gov- 
ernment the  desperate  situation  of  the  city  of  Brussels 
and  to  request  permission  to  import  food.  At  the  same 
time  they  appealed  personally  to  American  Ambassador 
Walter  Hines  Page  and  were  by  him  referred  to  an 
American  mining  engineer  named  Herbert  Clark  Hoover 
who  had  just  rendered  notable  services  to  the  Embassy 
and  to  his  fellow-countrymen  by  heading  a  committee  to 
advance  funds  to  send  home  to  America  those  of  our  na- 
tionals who  had  been  caught  in  Europe  at  the  outbreak 
of  war.  As  a  result  of  conferences  between  Mr.  Hoover 
and  Mr.  Francqui  a  plan  was  drawn  up  and  submitted 
to  the  British  Government,  which  granted  permission  to 
Mr.  Hoover  and  to  an  American  Committee  which  he 
should  organize  under  the  patronage  of  the  Ministers  of 
the  United  States  and  of  Spain  in  London,  Berlin,  The 
Hague,  and  Brussels,  the  right  to  purchase  and  transport 
through  the  British  blockade  to  Rotterdam,  Holland, 
cargoes  of  foodstuffs,  destined  to  be  trans-shipped  'into 


Belgium,  consigned  to  the  American  Minister  in  Brus- 
sels, and  to  be  distributed  through  the  Central  Relief 
Committee — now  expanded  to  the  Belgian  National  Re- 
lief Committee  (le  Comite  National  de  Secours  et  d' Ali- 
mentation)— under  the  direction  of  American  citizens, 
who  should  certify,  as  representatives  of  Mr.  Brand 
Whitlock,  that  the  food  was  equitably  apportioned  and 
consumed  only  by  the  Belgian  civil  population. 

This  plan  was  not  for  the  assistance  of  the  city  of 
Brussels  alone  but  was  for  the  whole  of  Belgium. 

The  London  Times  of  October  twenty-fourth,  1914, 

A  Commission  has  been  set  up  in  London  under  the  title 
of  "  The  American  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium." 
The  Brussels  Committee  reports  feeding  300,000  daily. 

On  November  fourth  it  states: 

The  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium  yesterday  issued 
their  first  weekly  report,  3  London  Wall  Buildings.  A 
cargo  was  received  yesterday  at  Brussels  just  in  time.  Esti- 
mated monthly  requirements : 

60,000  tons  grain 
15,000  tons  maize 
3,000  tons  rice  and  peas 

Approved  by  the  Spanish  and  American  Ministers,  Brussels.1 
1  See  Appendix  III,  page  333. 



The  Spanish  Minister — the  Marquis  of  Villalobar  y 
O'Neill — I  first  met  in  Brussels  in  December.  He  was 
as  Irish  as  the  maternal  half  of  his  name,  thoroughly 
simpatico,  a  trained  diplomat,  keen-eyed,  heavy-set,  of 
charming  manners  and  force  of  character,  whose  influ- 
ence with  the  Belgians  was  great.  He  and  Mr.  Brand 
Whitlock  were  the  only  diplomatic  representatives  who 
remained  in  Brussels  after  the  occupation.  Like  Mr. 
Whitlock,  the  Marquis  of  Villalobar  had  been  a  patron 
of  the  Central  Relief  Committee  of  Brussels,  and  when 
that  organism  was  expanded  to  take  in  the  whole  of 
Belgium  he  became,  with  Mr.  Whitlock,  Minister-patron 
of  the  Belgian  National  Relief  Committee. 

Among  the  remnants  of  the  former  diplomatic  circle 
was  a  delightful  Mexican  charge  d'affaires,  destined  also 
to  help  in  Belgian  relief  work,  with  the  inappropriate 
name  of  German  Bulle.  Waxing  and  waning  revolutions 
in  Mexico  had  made  Senor  Bulle  careless  of  his  official 
status,  which  was,  as  defined  by  Hugh  Gibson,  secretary 
of  the  American  Legation,  "  representative  of  a  coun- 
try without  a  government  to  a  government  without  a 

The  American  Legation  was  a  busy  place,  for  the  in- 
terests of  half  a  dozen  belligerent  nations  were  in 
American  hands,  and  the  busiest  person  in  it  was  the 
secretary.  Hugh  S.  Gibson  was  an  alert,  slender  young 


Hoosier  of  about  thirty,  with  the  hawk-like  Yankee  look, 
keen  dark  eyes,  crisp  hair  always  in  place,  fine  firm 
mouth,  slender  hands,  and  few  gestures.  His  wit  and 
fearlessness  were  the  talk  of  Brussels.  He  drove  into 
Louvain  under  fire  to  report  to  the  Legation  on  condi- 
tions. He  rode  into  Antwerp  while  the  siege  was  in 
progress,  carrying  a  Belgian  Minister  of  State  to  present 
to  King  Albert  a  confidential  message  from  Governor- 
General  von  der  Goltz.  The  King  repulsed  the  mes- 
senger, and  the  Minister  of  State  reported  afterward 
that  he  was  coerced  into  going.  But  for  Gibson  the 
journey  was  a  routine  matter  of  business,  even  if  the 
hood  of  his  motor-car  was  shot  off  en  route.  He  had 
been  frequently  under  fire  and  he  had  the  happy  faculty 
of  telling  about  his  exploits  without  the  taint  of  boastful- 

Like  most  of  the  Americans  in  Belgium,  Gibson  was 
dogged  by  spies.  One  of  these  hangers-on  made  himself 
so  conspicuous  that  Gibson  began  to  take  notice  of  him 
and  to  treat  him  familiarly,  much  to  the  spy's  disgust. 
One  very  rainy  day  the  pet  spy  was  discovered  standing 
under  the  dripping  eaves  of  a  neighboring  house.  Gib- 
son caught  up  a  raincoat  and  hurried  over  to  the  man. 

"  Look  here,  old  fellow,"  he  said  in  German.  "  I'm 
going  to  be  in  the  Legation  for  three  hours.  You  put 
on  this  coat  and  go  home.  Come  back  in  three  hours 
and  I'll  let  you  watch  me  for  the  rest  of  the  day." 

Ante-bellum  Baedekers  have  not  starred  the  American 


Legation  at  number  74  rue  de  Treves,  Brussels.  It  is 
no  worse  and  no  better  than  most  American  legations, 
but  it  is  not  a  beauty  spot  in  a  Belgian  pilgrimage. 
Straight  walls  enclose  the  Whitlock  residence,  a  dingy 
plaque  with  the  Legation  seal  leans  forward  over  the 
door,  a  flag  droops  weakly  from  its  staff  in  the  incessant 
rains,  and  the  dull  streets  are  empty.  The  house  itself 
is  a  severe  rectangle  with  a  pleasant  reception  room  and 
dining-room  upstairs,  but  with  gloomy  offices  below,  to 
which  one  is  led  by  way  of  a  white,  sepulchral  hall,  where 
a  plaster  bust  of  Washington  stares  undisturbed  at 

One  usually  found  Mr.  Whitlock  sitting  before  a  gas 
grate  in  a  room  where  winter  and  summer  the  windows 
were  closed.  He  rarely  walked  out.  Almost  the  only 
times  he  left  the  Legation  were  for  automobile  rides  in  a 
closed  limousine. 

He  always  looked  tired  and  worn.  The  academic 
severity  of  his  face  is  accentuated  by  his  thinness,  and 
his  eyes  have  the  tense  look  of  a  man  constantly  strain- 
ing to  see  something  too  close  to  him.  He  is  the  tall, 
scholarly,  cloistral  type  of  American  gentleman,  so  often 
sacrificed  to  practicalities  in  a  work-a-day  world ;  a  man 
happier  in  libraries  than  in  executive  offices;  happiest  of 
all,  perhaps,  in  the  atmosphere  of  universities.  The  dry, 
mechanical  precision  of  his  speech  rarely  changes  pitch 
or  tempo,  and  he  speaks  as  he  writes:  academically,  in 
the  best  sense  of  the  word. 


A  day  or  two  after  the  war  broke  out,  a  friend  of  Mr. 
Whitlock's  in  America  received  a  letter  written  from  the 
seclusion  of  a  chateau  near  Brussels,  where  the  Minister 
was  writing  a  novel.  There  was  no  hint,  no  thought  of 
war  in  the  letter.  The  writer  whimsically  deplored  the 
idle  life  of  an  American  representative  in  Europe.  "  I 
am  afraid,  after  all,  that  I  am  made  for  a  more  active 
existence,"  was  the  substance  of  what  he  wrote.  "  There 
is  nothing  to  do  here." 

There  was  something  of  the  same  aloofness  from 
contemporary  affairs  in  our  first  conversation,  as 
if  literature  and  not  life  had  again  gained  the  upper 

"  How  do  they  make  maple  sugar  back  home  ?  "  Mr. 
Whitlock  asked. 

I  described  the  process  as  best  I  could,  adding  that 
after  a  plethora  of  sugar  a  bite  or  two  of  sour  pickle 
will  clear  the  appetite  for  more !  "  But  why  do  you  ask 
me  that?" 

"  I  had  just  reached  a  '  sugaring  off '  episode  in  my 
novel  when  the  war  began,  and  I  have  often  wondered 
since  how  we  used  to  make  maple  sugar  in  Ohio."  .  .  . 

The  Fates  have  not  been  overkind  to  Mr.  Whitlock. 
Beginning  as  a  newspaper  reporter  in  Chicago — he  was 
born  in  Urbana,  Ohio,  on  March  4,  1869 — he  definitely 
determined  to  be  a  man  of  letters.  He  studied  law,  was 
admitted  to  the  Illinois  bar  in  1894  and  to  the  bar  of  the 

Photograph  by  Paul  Thompson 



State  of  Ohio  in  1897.  He  was  a  friend  of  Governor 
Altgeld  of  Illinois,  Tom  Johnson  of  Cleveland,  and 
"  Golden  Rule  "  Jones  of  Toledo,  Ohio,  whom  he  suc- 
ceeded as  mayor  in  1905.  He  was  re-elected  in  1907, 
and  again  in  1909  and  1911.  And  all  the  time  he  was 
writing.  "  The  Thirteenth  District,"  "  The  Turn  of  the 
Balance,"  "  The  Fall  Guy,"  "  Forty  Years  of  It,"— these 
of  his  books  are  widely  read ;  but  Mr.  Whitlock  has  never 
had  time  to  do  the  writing  which  he  wants  most  to  do. 
With  the  outbreak  of  the  war  his  placid  life  as  a 
diplomat,  "  lying  abroad  for  the  good  of  his  country," 
as  Sir  Henry  Wotton  wittily  defined  the  mission  of 
diplomacy,  was  invaded  by  a  storm  of  horrors  such  as 
the  most  self-contained  could  not  resist.  Mr.  Whitlock 
was  the  representative  of  the  only  great  neutral  power 
left  in  the  world  and  he  was  at  the  very  center  of  the 
cyclone.  Waves  of  refugees,  many  of  them  utterly  desti- 
tute, all  of  them  in  a  state  of  abject  panic  and  demorali- 
zation, thronged  into  Brussels  as  the  Germans  advanced. 
Day  by  day  their  numbers  and  their  distress  increased. 
Relief  measures  were  imperative  unless  the  fugitives 
were  to  starve  by  the  roadside  or  be  driven  in  despera- 
tion to  plunder  right  and  left.  Mr.  Whitlock  had  lived 
all  his  life  in  the  amiable  atmosphere  of  Middle  Western 
liberalism;  he  was  humane  and  kindly  and  idealistic. 
He  belonged  to  the  "  Free  Speech  League  "  and  prison 
reform  associations ;  his  impulses  and  ideals  were  gener- 
ous, and  now  before  his  eyes  a  nation  was  being  throt- 


tied.  It  was  natural  and  I  think  it  was  typically  Ameri- 
can for  Mr.  Whitlock  to  do  what  he  did.  He  threw 
himself  at  once  into  the  work  of  relief.  The  American 
Legation  became  the  foundation  head  for  all  sorts  of 
help  and  advice.  Bread  lines  were  formed  and  supplied, 
soup  kitchens  were  opened,  and  depots  where  the  naked 
could  be  clothed;  and  after  the  German  armies  entered 
Brussels  on  August  twentieth,  1914,  the  American  Le- 
gation afforded  the  one  stable  point  around  which  the 
demoralized  population  could  rally. 

That  is  Mr.  Whitlock' s  unforgettable  contribution  to 
Belgium  and  especially  to  the  city  of  Brussels.  He  has 
represented  to  a  people  imprisoned  and  oppressed  the 
ideals  of  freedom  and  helpfulness  which  we  like  to  think 
are  characteristically  American. 

And  that  is  what  the  Belgians  will  never  forget.  That 
is  why,  on  Washington's  Birthday,  they  filed  before  the 
heavy  doors  at  74  rue  de  Treves — men,  women,  and  chil- 
dren, of  all  classes ;  a  few  in  furs,  more  with  shawls  over 
their  heads  and  sabots  on  their  feet;  professors,  noble- 
men, artisans,  shopkeepers,  artists,  functionaries  of  the 
State,  slum  babies,  and  peasants — dropping  their  cartes 
de  visile — engraved,  printed,  or  written  on  slips  of  stiff 
cardboard  torn  from  paper  boxes — in  tribute  to  Mr. 
Whitlock  and  the  nation  which  he  represents. 

To  Belgians  and  to  Americans  the  Legation  was  a 
haven  of  refuge.  A  vast  weight  of  suspicion  hung  upon 


us  all.  We  almost  feared  to  think ;  we  could  never  speak 
out.  The  American  Legation  was  the  only  spot  in  Bel- 
gium where  one  might  talk  and  listen  without  fear 
of  spies;  where  even  in  the  midst  of  war  one  might 
share  for  a  while  the  sheltered,  test-tube  existence  of 
diplomatic  representatives  abroad.  And  for  that  we  were 
deeply  grateful. 

To  the  popularity  of  the  Legation  Mrs.  Whitlock  con- 
tributed much.  Her  tact  and  sympathy,  her  charm  and 
good  sense  were  at  every  one's  command.  She  also  took 
a  prominent  part  in  relief  work  in  Brussels.  She  was 
president-patroness  of  the  Children's  Aid  (Aide  et  Pro- 
tection aux  (Euvres  de  I'Enfance)  and  of  the  Commit- 
tee for  the  Relief  of  Lace  Workers  (le  Comite  de  la 
Dent elle).  At  jier  little  Friday  receptions  the  women 
always  knitted  for  the  poor. 


"  Who  is  Hoover  ?  "  I  asked  of  every  American  I  met 
in  Brussels. 

"  Chairman  of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium 
— Going  to  be  one  of  the  biggest  figures  of  the  war." 

"  But  who  is  he  now  ?  " 

"  Mining  engineer — Calif ornian — Lives  in  London — 
Directs  a  lot  of  mines  all  over  the  world — Employs 
one  hundred  and  twenty-five  thousand  men — Annual  out- 
put of  his  mines  is  worth  as  much  as  the  total  annual 
output  of  metals  of  California.  He's  a  consulting  en- 


gineer  and  financier  and  administrator — Interested  in 
everything — Oil  fields,  half  a  dozen  engineering,  con- 
struction, and  development  companies.  Everybody  in 
London  knows  Hoover.  If  any  one  on  earth  can  feed 
Belgium,  he  can." 

Later  I  knew  more  of  him :  that  he  comes  of  Quaker 
stock;  was  born  at  West  Branch,  Iowa,  in  1874;  gradu- 
ated from  Leland  Stanford  University,  California,  tak- 
ing his  degree  of  B.  A.  in  mining  engineering  in  1895 ; 
spent  a  year  with  the  United  States  Geological  Survey 
in  the  Sierra  Nevada  Mountains,  was  assistant  manager 
of  the  Carlisle  mines  in  New  Mexico  and  the  Morning 
Star  mines  in  California,  and  at  the  age  of  twenty-four 
went  to  West  Australia  as  chief  of  the  mining  staff  of 
Bewick,  Moreing,  and  Company.  He  married  Miss  Lou 
Henry  of  Monterey,  California  in  1899,  and  with  his 
bride  went  to  China  as  chief  engineer  of  the  Chinese  Im- 
perial Bureau  of  Mines.  Next  year  he  took  part  in  the 
defense  of  Tientsin  during  the  Boxer  disturbances. 
After  that  he  was  engaged  in  the  construction  of  Ching 
Wang  Tow  harbor,  and  was  general  manager  of  the 
Chinese  Engineering  and  Mining  Company;  and  a  year 
later,  in  1902,  became  a  partner  in  the  firm  of  Bewick, 
Moreing,  and  Company,  mine  operators,  of  London.  He 
has  been  consulting  engineer  for  more  than  fifty  mining 

It  reads  like  the  record  of  a  crowded  life,  but  it  is 


only  a  prelude  to  his  real  work.  By  the  first  of  January, 
1915,  all  the  world  knew  of  Hoover,  knew  that  to  him 
more  than  to  any  one  else  is  due  the  creation  and 
maintenance  of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium, 
the  day  to  day  toil  on  behalf  of  seven  million  four  hun- 
dred thousand  non-combatants  in  Belgium  and  two  mil- 
lion one  hundred  and  forty  thousand  in  northern 
France  caught  in  the  nets  of  war,  the  enlisting  of  the 
sympathy  of  the  world  on  their  behalf,  the  organization 
and  successful  operation  within  two  or  three  weeks  by 
a  body  of  volunteers  of  relief  measures  involving  an  an- 
nual turnover  of  almost  one  hundred  million  dollars. 
That,  as  all  the  world  knows  today,  is  the  achievement 
of  Herbert  C.  Hoover,  American. 

In  appearance  he  is  astonishingly  youthful,  smooth- 
shaven,  dark  haired,  with  cool,  watchful  eyes,  clear  brow, 
straight  nose,  and  firm,  even  mouth.  His  chin  is  round 
and  hard. 

One  might  not  mark  him  in  a  crowd.  There  is  noth- 
ing theatrical  or  picturesque  in  his  looks  or  bearing,  for 
from  his  Quaker  forebears  he  has  inherited  a  dislike  for 
sham  and  show  of  any  sort.  At  work  he  seems  passive 
and  receptive.  He  stands  still  or  sits  still  when  he  talks, 
perhaps  jingling  coins  in  his  pocket  or  playing  with  a 
pencil.  His  repertory  of  gestures  is  small.  He  can  be 
so  silent  that  it  hurts. 

Being  an  American  he  sometimes  acts  first  and  ex- 


plains  afterwards.  But  his  explanations,  like  his  actions, 
are  direct  and  self-sufficient. 

In  the  Outlook  for  September  eighth,  1915,  Lewis  R. 
Freeman  describes  Hoover's  contempt  for  precedent,  his 
fondness  for  the  fait  accompli;  for  action  first  and  ex- 
planation later.  He  tells  how,  before  the  Commission 
was  fairly  on  its  feet,  there  came  a  day  when  it  was  a 
case  of  snarling  things  in  red  tape  and  letting  Belgium 
starve,  or  getting  food  shipped  and  letting  governments 
howl.  Hoover  naturally  chose  the  latter. 

"  When  the  last  bag  had  been  stowed  and  the  hatches 
were  battened  down,"  writes  Mr.  Freeman,  "  Hoover 
went  in  person  to  the  one  Cabinet  Minister  able  to  ar- 
range for  the  only  things  he  could  not  provide  himself 
— clearance  papers.  'If  I  do  not  get  four  cargoes  of 
food  to  Belgium  by  the  end  of  the  week,'  he  said  bluntly, 
'  thousands  are  going  to  die  from  starvation,  and  many 
more  may  be  shot  in  food  riots.' 

"  '  Out  of  the  question/  said  the  distinguished  Minister. 
'  There  is  no  time,  in  the  first  place,  and  if  there  was 
there  are  no  good  wagons  to  be  spared  by  the  railways, 
no  dock  hands,  and  no  steamers;  moreover,  the  Channel 
is  closed  for  a  week  to  merchant  vessels  while  troops  are 
being  transported  to  the  Continent/ 

" '  I  have  managed  to  get  all  of  these  things/  Hoover 
replied  quietly ;  '  and  am  now  through  with  them  all  ex- 
cept the  steamers.  This  wire  tells  me  that  these  are  now 

Courtesy  of  The  Bellman  and  The  Northwestern  Miller 



loaded  and  ready  to  sail,  and  I  have  come  to  have  you 
arrange  for  their  clearance/ 

"  The  great  man  gasped.  *  There  have  been — there  are 
even  now — men  in  the  Tower  for  less  than  you  have 
done/  he  ejaculated.  '  If  it  was  for  anything  but  Bel- 
gian Relief — if  it  was  anybody  but  you,  young  man — I 
should  hate  to  think  of  what  might  happen.  As  it  is — 
er — I  suppose  there  is  nothing  to  do  but  congratulate 
you  on  a  jolly  clever  coup.  I'll  see  about  the  clearance 
at  once/  " 

Mr.  Freeman  quotes  a  member  of  the  Commission  as 
saying,  "  You  have  heard,  doubtless,  that  Lloyd  George 
has  the  reputation  of  being  the  most  persuasive  man  in 
England.  Well,  a  few  months  ago,  when  we  were  try- 
ing to  simplify  our  work  by  arranging  for  an  extension 
of  exchange  facilities  on  Brussels,  the  then  Chancellor 
of  the  Exchequer  sent  for  Hoover.  I  will  tell  the  story 
as  Lloyd  George  himself  told  it  to  some  friends  at  the 
Liberal  Club  a  few  days  later. 

"  '  "  Mr.  Hoover,"  I  said,  "  I  find  I  am  quite  unable  to 
grant  your  request  iri  the  matter  of  Belgian  exchange, 
and  I  have  asked  you  to  come  here  that  I  might  explain 
why."  Without  waiting  for  me  to  go  on,  my  boyish- 
looking  caller  began  speaking.  .  .  .  For  fifteen 
minutes  he  spoke  without  a  break — just  about  the 
clearest  expository  utterance  I  have  ever  heard  on  any 
subject.  He  used  not  a  word  too  much,  nor  yet  a  word 
too  few.  By  the  time  he  had  finished  I  had  come  to 


realize,  not  only  the  importance  of  his  contentions,  but, 
what  was  more  to  the  point,  the  practicability  of  grant- 
ing his  request.  So  I  did  the  only  thing  possible  under 
the  circumstances — told  him  I  had  never  understood  the 
question  before,  thanked  him  for  helping  me  to  under- 
stand it,  and  saw  to  it  that  things  were  arranged  as  he 
wanted  them/  " 

On  April  tenth,  1915,  a  submarine  torpedoed  one  of 
the  food  ships  chartered  by  the  Commission;  a  week 
later  a  German  hydro-aeroplane  tried  to  drop  bombs  on 
the  deck  of  another  Commission  ship,  so  Hoover  paid 
a  flying  visit  to  Berlin.  He  was  at  once  assured  that  no 
more  incidents  of  the  sort  would  occur. 

"Thanks,"  said  Hoover.  "Your  Excellency,  have 
you  heard  the  story  of  the  man  who  was  nipped  by  a 
bad-tempered  dog?  He  went  to  the  owner  to  have  the 
dog  muzzled. 

"  '  But  the  dog  won't  bite  you/  insisted  the  owner. 

" '  You  know  he  won't  bite  me,  and  I  know  he  won't 
bite  me/  said  the  injured  party  doubtfully,  '  but  the  ques- 
tion is,  does  the  dog  know  ? '  '  .  .  . 

"  Herr  Hoover,"  said  the  high  official,  "  pardon  me 
if  I  leave  you  for  a  moment.  I  am  going  at  once  to 
'  let  the  dog  know/  " 

Hoover  has  a  habit  of  going  straight  to  the  highest 
authority  with  anything  he  has  on  hand.  He  never 


wastes  time  on  the  titled  office  boys  who  administer  so 
much  of  the  machinery  of  this  world  of  ours.  When  he 
meets  a  new  problem  he  takes  it  to  an  expert.  When  he 
wants  an  obstacle  removed  from  his  path  he  goes  to  the 
man  who  can  remove  it,  or  he  removes  it  himself.  He 
gives  no  small  coin  of  flattery  or  favors  to  figurehead 

Of  course  he  makes  enemies.  The  wonder  is  that  they 
are  so  few.  He  uses  men,  throws  them  aside  and  for- 
gets them,  as  every  world  architect  must,  for  he  has, 
along  with  his  amazing  diplomatic  skill,  as  frank  a  way 
in  dealing  with  men  as  with  conditions.  I  have  known 
a  word  or  a  phrase  of  his  to  reveal  a  man  to  himself  as 
naked  and  as  startled  as  a  patient  under  psychoanalysis. 
Hoover  is  a  diplomat  in  the  high,  not  in  the  trivial  sense 
of  the  word;  a  constructive  artist  in  human  destiny;  a 
leader  who  is  too  busy  to  waste  time  flattering  the  petty 
pride  of  those  he  leads. 

He  appeals  to  the  imagination  and  the  dreams  of  men. 
But  he  too  is  a  slave  to  dreams.  Today  the  Commission 
for  Relief  in  Belgium— the  "  C.  R.  B."  as  the  Belgians 
have  nicknamed  it — is  his  great  dream.  He  wants  the 
names  of  all  who  serve  in  it  to  be  swallowed  up  in  the 
organization,  to  be  forgotten  in  service  to  Belgium.  He 
would  like  his  own  name  to  be  forgotten  in  the  same 
way;  but  that  is  not  to  be.  I  am  not  a  prophet  or  the 
son  of  a  prophet,  but  I  know  that  the  public  service  of 
Herbert  C.  Hoover  has  just  begun.  He  belongs  not  only 


to  Belgium  but  to  America,  and  as  soon  as  the  war  is 
over  and  Belgium  is  free,  his  own  country  will  have  need 
of  him. 


In  October,  as  Chairman  of  the  Commission  for  Relief 
in  Belgium,  Mr.  Hoover  established  his  headquarters  at  3 
London  Wall  Buildings,  London,  England.  The  diplo- 
matic direction  of  the  entire  work  of  Belgian  relief,  the 
solicitation  or  purchase  of  supplies  and  their  shipment, 
were  governed  by  this  central  office.  The  active  members 
of  the  Commission,  all  of  them  volunteers  and  most  of 
them  American  citizens,  consisted  chiefly  of  personal 
friends  and  business  associates  of  Mr.  Hoover;  almost  all 
of  them  engineers,  or  men  of  careful  technical  training. 

The  Commission  in  London  was  modestly  housed  and 
modestly  manned.  The  general  direction  was  in  the 
hands  of  Mr.  Hoover;  Colonel  Millard  Hunsiker  was 
director  for  Great  Britain ;  John  Beaver  White  was  pur- 
chasing agent  and  manager  of  shipping;  and  Edgar 
Rickard,  editor  of  a  mining  journal,  was  manager  of 

The  Brussels  office,  which  was  headquarters  for  all  of 
Belgium,  at  first  was  divided  between  the  American  Le- 
gation and  number  48  rue  de  Naples — the  latter  a  typical 
Brussels  office  building  with  unnecessary  marble,  pan- 
eled oak  cubby-holes  for  private  offices,  oak  ceilings,  oak- 

1  See  Appendix  IV,  page  334. 


wainscot,  and  big  mirrors.  There  was  an  oak  mantel 
with  carven,  well-fed  cupids  on  it,  American  telephone 
instruments  on  green  baize  tables,  electric  lights,  and  deep 
comfortable  chairs.  Later  the  headquarters  were  trans- 
ferred to  a  rambling  suite  at  number  66  rue  des  Colonies. 
The  first  director  was  Daniel  Heinemann  of  Brussels, 
and  following  him,  Captain  J.  F.  Lucey,  Albert  N.  Con- 
nett,  Oscar  T.  Crosby,  Professor  Vernon  L.  Kellogg,  and 
W.  B.  Poland. 

Rotterdam,  the  port  of  entry  for  all  Belgian  sup- 
plies, was  the  principal  shipping  point,  so  that  a  trans- 
shipping office  for  Commission  goods  was  opened  at  98 
Haringvliet,  on  a  tree-bordered  Dutch  lane  lying  beside 
a  busy  canal  where  the  schools  of  herring  used  to  run, 
and  where  nowadays  market  carts  and  fisherwomen, 
motor-cars,  delivery  wagons,  and  peasant  farmers  in 
whitewashed  wooden  shoes  clatter  leisurely  by.  A 
century  ago  98  Haringvliet  was  the  residence  of  a 
Dutch  merchant  prince.  The  ceilings  bear  allegorical 
figures.  Some  of  the  walls  are  paneled.  In  the  waiting- 
room,  which  used  to  be  the  dining-room  of  the  mansion, 
is  a  massive  fireplace,  with  long  vertical  Dutch  mirrors 
and  wall  paintings  in  the  style  of  1750,  showing  quiet 
landscapes,  Ruskin's  "  fat  cattle  and  ditch-water,"  or 
violent  storms  at  sea. 

Stolid  Dutch  and  Flemish  barge  captains  and  dock 
laborers  stood  in  line  below  stairs.  Captain  J.  F.  Lucey, 
the  first  Rotterdam  director,  sat  in  a  roomy  office  on 


the  second  floor  overlooking  the  Meuse — the  river  which 
flows  from  Verdun,  Dinant,  Namur,  and  Liege,  thence 
through  Holland  to  Rotterdam.  From  his  windows  he 
could  see  the  Commission  barges  as  they  left  for  Bel- 
gium, their  pilot  houses  decorated  with  huge  canvas  flags 
bearing  the  protective  inscription,  "  Belgian  Relief  Com- 
mission." He  was  a  nervous,  big,  beardless  American,  a 
volunteer,  like  all  the  rest,  who  left  his  business  of  manu- 
facturing oil-well  supplies  to  organize  and  direct  a  great 
trans-shipping  office  in  an  alien  land  for  an  alien  people. 
Out  of  nothing  he  created  a  large  staff  of  clerks — 
American,  Dutch,  and  Belgian — secured  special  permits 
from  the  Dutch  Government,  even  wrung  from  them  per- 
mission to  break  the  laws  whenever  necessity  dictated; 
received  the  immense  cargoes  necessary  to  stave  off  Bel- 
gian starvation;  loaded  them  into  canal  boats;  got  from 
the  German  Consul-General  in  Rotterdam  passports  for 
cargoes  and  crews ;  and  shipped  the  foodstuffs  consigned 
personally  to  Mr.  Brand  Whitlock.1 

A  fleet  of  three  hundred  canal  boats  was  engaged  ex- 
clusively for  the  Commission's  work.  By  means  of  float- 
ing elevators  a  nine  thousand  ton  ship  loaded  with  bulk 
wheat  could  be  unloaded  in  thirty-six  hours  and  sent  on 
its  way  through  the  rivers  and  canals  into  Belgium.  All 
Dutch  records  for  speedy  freight  handling  were  broken, 
and  still  Belgium  cried  for  food.2 

1  See  Appendix  V,  page  335- 
8  See  Appendix  VI,  page  335. 


By  mid-November  gift  ships  from  the  United  States 
were  en  route  for  Rotterdam,  but  the  Canadian  Province 
of  Nova  Scotia  was  first  in  the  translantic  race.  The 
steamer  "  Tremorvah,"  out  of  Halifax,  brought  one 
hundred  and  seventy-six  tons  of  flour,  forty-nine  tons  of 
meat  and  bacon,  and  two  thousand  three  hundred  and 
thirty-eight  tons  miscellaneous, — everything  edible  which 
could  be  got  on  short  notice  by  the  generous  Nova 
Scotians  and  thrust  into  a  ship.  The  "  Tremorvah " 
reached  Rotterdam  on  November  fifteenth.1 

As  an  American  citizen  I  was  deeply  interested  in  the 
budding  work'  of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium. 
Through  Dr.  Henry  van  Dyke,  American  Minister  in 
The  Hague  and  an  honorary  chairman  of  the  Commis- 
sion, and  through  Captain  Lucey,  the  Rotterdam  director, 
I  learned  that  Americans  were  urgently  needed  in  Bel- 
gium to  oversee  the  distribution  of  food  in  each  of  the 
provinces  and  to  certify  that  all  of  it  went  to  the  Bel- 
gians. Men  were  wanted  who  knew  both  French  and 
German  and  who  had  business  training,  and  they  were 
wanted  at  once.  It  was  suggested  that  I  go  into  Belgium 
and  help  in  whatever  way  I  could. 

The  suggestion  was  made  to  me  at  four  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon  of  November  twenty-third.  I  left  for  Brus- 
sels next  morning  at  eight  o'clock,  by  way  of  Bergen  op 
Zoom  and  Antwerp. 

1  See  Appendix  VII,  page  336. 


On  December  eleventh  I  was  again  in  Antwerp,  this 
time  holding  Mr.  Brand  Whitlock's  power-of -attorney  as 
chief  delegate  of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium 
in  charge  of  the  fortress  and  province — a  territory  as 
large  as  the  State  of  Rhode  Island,  and  with  a  popula- 
tion of  more  than  a  million. 


It  was  the  season  of  Saint  Nicholas,  with  Christmas 
only  a  fortnight  away;  a  time  when  all  the  world  has 
a  right  to  be  merry.  But  it  seemed  as  if  there  could  be  no 
real  Christmas  in  1914;  food  and  clothing  would  be  bless- 
ing enough  for  the  Belgians.  At  the  office  of  the  Red 
Cross,  at  number  30  Place  de  Meir,  hung  a  pathetic 
notice : 

"  This  year  Saint  Nicholas  cannot  make  a  proper  dis- 
tribution of  presents  to  the  poor  children  of  Belgium. 
Therefore  it  will  be  necessary  to  have  useful  things  to  give 
to  the  little  ones: — a  pair  of  slippers,  a  warm  dress,  or 
something  of  the  sort — for  distribution  through  the  hos- 
pitals, children's  refuges,  and  creches!' 

A  few  shops  exhibited  the  customary  Christmas  cakes, 
gingerbreads,  and  candies,  although  the  stock  was 
strictly  limited  on  account  of  the  lack  of  milk  and  eggs, 
and  in  a  department-store  on  the  Place  de  Meir  stood  a 
ruddy  lay  figure  of  Saint  Nicholas  in  a  bishop's  golden 
mitre  and  chasuble,  white  lace  cotta  and  black  cassock, 
mittens,  and  gold  crosier, — a  touch  at  least  of  the  Christ- 

A  DEAD  CITY  203 

mas  season,  although  the  good  bishop  did  not  resemble 
our  jolly,  homely  Santa  Claus.  .  .  . 

The  silence  of  the  dead  metropolis  was  shrilly  broken 
by  old  women,  screaming  "  Handelsblad!  La  Presse!" 
to  people  too  poor  to  buy  newspapers.  The  hum  and 
throb  of  industry  were  gone ;  the  quays  were  empty ;  fac- 
tories were  shut;  acres  of  rusting  wagons  and  rotting 
ships  lined  the  northern  basins;  the  warehouses  were 
sealed  and  guarded  by  German  soldiers;  labor  was  dis- 
persed, and  the  very  air  was  idle  and  noisome. 

There  was  nothing  to  do  but  to  promenade,  so  the 
streets  were  thronged  with  women  in  mourning  and  idle 
men  who  passed  aimlessly  up  and  down,  or  studied  the 
pillar-posts  where  the  German  Government  posted  its 
regulations  in  the  German,  Flemish,  and  French 
languages.  Barricades  of  sandbags  and  a  row  of  ugly 
rapid-fire  guns  pointed  down  the  avenue  de  Keyzer  from 
the  Central  Railway  Station.  Few  beggars  were  abroad : 
the  crowds  were  not  mendicants.  But  they  walked  aim- 
lessly and  indifferently,  and  their  faces  were  inexpressibly 
sad.  Refugees  were  drifting  back  from  Holland :  thirty 
thousand  were  lodged  in  the  city.  Many  of  them  were 
without  homes,  most  were  without  money,  all  were  with- 
out work. 

Long  Hnes  of  people  stood  every  day  at  the  Pass 
Bureau  to  petition  for  passes  to  Brussels  or  the  suburbs 
of  Antwerp,  for  three  lines  of  German  sentries  girdled 


the  fortress  and  permitted  no  one  to  go  or  come  without 
the  magic  script  furnished  by  the  Pass  Bureau,  "  for  a 
consideration. "  Passes  were  costly  articles.  Peasants 
coming  to  town  on  market  days  to  sell  their  scanty 
stock  of  vegetables  and  milk  paid  sometimes  as  high  as 
three  marks  for  the  privilege.  Draft  animals  were  few, 
because  of  the  requisitions,  so  one  frequently  saw  dogs, 
and  sometimes  men  and  women,  pulling  the  heaviest 
carts  over  the  cobble-stones. 

Out  of  the  crowding  impressions  of  my  first  week's 
stay  in  Antwerp  as  delegate  for  the  Commission  for  Re- 
lief in  Belgium,  comes  a  composite  picture  of  helplessness 
and  hopelessness,  lightened  by  the  incorrigible  optimism 
of  one  man.  That  man  was  Louis  Franck,  president  of 
the  Provincial  Relief  Committee.  On  the  day  of  my  ar- 
rival in  Antwerp  I  went  at  once  to  the  beautiful  Town 
Hall,  a  structure  famous  before  the  "  Spanish  Terror," 
— a  Flemish  gem  in  old  gold  and  ivory,  set  in  a  Flem- 
ish square,  all  ringed  about  with  guild  halls  and  medieval 
shops.  At  the  door  stood  German  sentries  and  a  stench 
of  cabbage  soup  swam  out  of  the  open  doors,  for  most 
of  the  guard  was  at  mess,  laughing  and  eating  below 

In  the  office  of  the  Burgomaster  of  Antwerp,  Jan  de 
Vos,  I  found  Mynheer  Louis  Franck,  president  of  the 
Inter-communal  Commission  and  the  provincial  branch 
of  the  National  Relief  Committee  (le  Comite  Provincial 

A  DEAD  CITY  205 

de  Secours  et  d' Alimentation) .  Through  a  clear  pane 
in  the  stained-glass  windows  behind  him,  I  caught  a 
glimpse  of  the  cathedral  tower,  with  the  German  flag 
flaunting  at  its  top;  but  the  appearance  and  surroundings 
of  Mr.  Franck  filled  the  eye  completely.  He  sat  in  a 
paneled  room  of  Flemish  oak  and  gold,  behind  a  mas- 
sive oaken  desk,  facing  a  magnificent  marble  chimney- 
piece  from  the  old  abbey  of  Tongerloo;  his  bold  head 
framed  with  a  cascade  of  curly,  jet-black  hair  and 
black  Assyrian  beard.  He  was  forty-seven  years  old, 
in  the  prime  of  his  strength,  with  an  optimistic  faith  in 
the  future  of  Belgium  which  was  contagious.  Later  I 
was  to  learn  more  of  him ;  to  recognize  in  him  one  of  the 
keenest  intelligences  in  Belgium,  a  famous  maritime 
lawyer,  the  legal-minded  type  of  adroit  politician,  and  a 
born  leader  of  men.  I  learned  to  know  him  as  a  Fleming 
from  a  Flemish  Province,  a  leader  in  the  Flemish  Move- 
ment, but  as  a  cosmopolitan  as  well,  and  an  admirable 
orator  in  five  languages  beside  his  native  Flemish.1 

We  walked  together  into  the  Marriage  Hall  to  open 
the  first  sitting  of  the  Provincial  Relief  Committee. 
Down  upon  us  from  the  walls  smiled  paintings  of  mar- 
riage ceremonies,  Gaulish,  Roman,  Old  Flemish,  of  the 
time  of  Rubens,  and  of  the  period  of  the  French  Revolu- 
tion. It  was  the  hall  where  the  civil  ceremony  preceding 
all  Antwerp  marriages  must  take  place,  and  where,  if  the 
persons  be  prominent,  the  Burgomaster  himself  gives  the 

1  See   Appendix   VIII,  page  337. 


bride  the  famous  white  and  red  rose  which  is  the  emblem 
of  Antwerp.  But  our  assembly  was  neither  gay  nor  fes- 
tive. It  was  a  confused  vision  of  bearded  gentlemen, 
grave  as  prophets,  in  long  black  coats  and  stiff  collars, 
whom  later  I  was  to  know  as  loyal  co-workers  and 
patriots.  They  were  aldermen  and  notable  citizens  of 
the  city,  country  burgomasters  and  provincial  deputies; 
representatives  of  all  three  political  parties — Catholic, 
Liberal,  Socialist;  of  all  three  classes  of  society — noble, 
bourgeois,  and  proletarian;  and  of  a  variety  of  profes- 
sions and  callings.  They  served  without  pay. 

Up  to  that  time  no  American  foodstuffs  had  been  re- 
ceived or  distributed  in  Antwerp.1 


I  left  the  meeting  of  the  Committee  and  walked  to  74 
rue  du  Peage.  On  my  way  I  stopped  at  the  cathedral. 
Workmen  were  rapidly  removing  all  trace  of  the  damage 
caused  by  the  bombardment;  the  stone  rail  had  been  re- 
paired with  cement,  leaving  a  strange  leprous  patch,  and 

1  Our  first  circular  letter  to  the  one  hundred  and  sixty-five  com- 
munes belonging  to  the  province  of  Antwerp,  bore  date  of  December 
eleventh,  the  day  of  my  arrival.  It  asked :  i.  the  total  population  of 
the  commune;  2.  financial  resources;  3.  immediate  financial  needs; 
4.  inventory  of  existing  foodstuffs  of  every  sort ;  5.  estimated  daily 
necessities  in  foodstuffs, — the  basis  for  flour  being  not  more  than 
250  grams  per  day  per  person ;  6.  estimated  daily  necessities  in  fod- 
der for  the  cattle ;  7.  if  a  building  were  ready  to  serve  as  communal 
food  depot;  8.  if  medicine  were  needed  in  the  commune.  The 
answers  to  these  inquiries  were  to  be  attested  by  the  burgomasters 
and  sealed  with  the  communal  seal. 

Louis  FRANCK 


I  was  amused  to  see  the  stall  formerly  lettered  "  English 
Confessor,"  now  covered  with  a  card  in  German  script 
bearing  the  words,  "  Field  Preacher  Confessor  Doctor 

Through  seared  and  smashed  byways  I  went  to  the 
familiar  street,  past  the  ruins  of  houses,  their  windows 
barred  with  wood  or  blocked  with  canvas,  and  on  the 
door  at  number  74  I  found  Donald  Thompson's  name 
and  address  branded  for  posterity  with  indelible 

There  were  two  candles  in  the  hallway,  and  a  box  of 
matches,  just  as  we  had  left  them.  It  was  still  and  dark 
as  a  tomb.  Down  in  the  kitchen  was  the  familiar  clutter 
of  bottles  and  pans;  in  the  cyclone  cellar  where  we  had 
weathered  the  bombardment  were  the  names  of  the  four 
of  us — Thompson,  Weigle,  de  Meester,  and  me — just  as 
they  had  been  written  for  the  eyes  of  our  heirs  on  the 
night  the  shelling  began.  Upstairs  in  what  had  been  my 
bedroom  I  found  the  pile  of  French  books  which  had 
amused  me  so,  and  Ella  Wheeler  Wilcox's  "  Poems  of 
Passion"  lying  safe  on  top  of  the  heap.  ...  On 
the  third  floor  was  a  mountain  of  plaster  and  I  picked 
up  half  a  pint  of  lead  pellets  in  the  midst  of  it.  On 
the  fourth  floor  in  the  debris  of  the  walls  were  a 
broken  couch,  a  smashed  wardrobe,  cracked  mirrors,  and 
torn  chairs,  beds  and  bed  linen,  all  tumbled  together  by 
the  explosion.  The  hole  where  the  shell  had  entered  was 
covered  with  canvas  neatly  nailed. 


At  the  American  Consulate  where  Donald  Thompson 
photographed  the  battalions  of  Germans  tramping  along 
the  rue  Leys  on  October  tenth,  I  met  the  kindly  old  Con- 
sul-General, Henry  W.  Diederich,  and  the  Vice-Consul, 
Tuck  Sherman.  Thanks  to  them,  all  over  Antwerp 
were  signs,  "  under  the  protection  of  the  American  Con- 
sulate," which  may  have  moderated  German  thorough- 
ness and  which  certainly  heartened  the  Belgians.  Messrs. 
Diederich  and  Sherman  granted  me  office  space  in  the 
Consulate  and  after  a  day  or  two  arranged  with  an  in- 
surance company  in  the  suite  below  the  Consular  offices 
to  give  me  space  of  my  own.  In  the  insurance  offices  a 
caretaker  and  two  or  three  clerks  dismally  played  at 
business,  keeping  the  long  hours  of  the  ordinary  Belgian 
business-day,  dusting,  sweeping,  casting  up  accounts,  and 
puzzling  over  cryptic  anagrams  which  prophesied  the 
Kaiser's  death  or  the  capture  of  Berlin.  They  were  de- 
lighted to  have  me  near  them,  for  in  their  eyes  I  guar- 
anteed protection  from  the  Germans. 

My  furniture  consisted  of  a  modest  table,  a  typewriter, 
and  five  chairs. 

My  duties  as  American  delegate  were  necessarily  ill- 
defined  but  capable  of  almost  unlimited  extension.  Hold- 
ing the  power-of -attorney  of  the  American  Minister, 
I  was  in  theory  the  owner  of  all  supplies  im- 
ported into  the  province  of  Antwerp  by  the  Commis- 
sion for  Relief  in  Belgium  from  the  time  they  reached 


me  on  the  canal  boats  from  Rotterdam  up  to  the 
time  of  their  consumption  by  the  Belgians.  The  Com- 
mission's imports  were  consigned  personally  to  Mr. 
Whitlock,  so  that  as  provincial  delegate  I  acted  as  con- 
signee for  the  province  in  which  I  served.  Once  at  the 
wharves  the  contents  of  the  boats  were  under  my  direc- 
tion, and  in  theory  this  applied  to  the  later  steps, — to 
their  transference  to  the  docks  or  the  Commission  ware- 
houses in  Antwerp,  Turnhout,  Malines,  and  Tamise;  to 
their  transport  thence  by  canals  or  light  railways  to  the 
regional  warehouses ;  then  to  the  one  hundred  and  sixty- 
five  communes;  and  so  to  the  million  and  more  indi- 
vidual consumers.  The  Americans  in  Belgium  were  in 
honor  bound  to  know  what  became  of  every  item  of  sup- 
plies, for  only  on  terms  like  these  would  Great  Britain 
modify  her  blockade  in  favor  of  Belgium. 

It  was  necessary,  then,  for  the  American  delegate  to 
be  familiar  in  detail  not  only  with  the  transportation 
and  distribution  of  imports,  but  also  with  the  condition 
and  needs  of  every  commune  in  his  province,  and  to  re- 
port on  these  matters  regularly  to  the  headquarters  of 
the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium  and  to  the  Ameri- 
can Minister. 

The  course  of  the  war  had  abolished  the  independent, 
democratic  life  of  the  Belgian  people.  Out  of  the  chaos 
had  emerged  the  neutral  Commission  for  Relief  and  the 
Belgian  National  Relief  Committee  pledged  to  extraor- 
dinary caution  in  handling  supplies,  so  that  at  times  the 


American  delegate  could  not  help  appearing  as  a  sort  of 
Oriental  satrap.  There  were  the  usual  routine  problems 
of  insurance,  shipping,  bills  of  lading,  warehousing,  and 
trans-shipping,  the  preparation  of  extensive  reports, 
debits  and  credits,  where  the  delegate's  share  tended  to 
become  more  and  more  supervisory;  but  complaints  and 
misunderstandings  on  the  part  of  the  German  authorities, 
inadequate  communal  reports,  or  friction  of  one  sort  and 
another,  complicated  by  the  political  disabilities  under 
which  our  Belgian  coadjutors  labored,  made  it  necessary 
for  the  delegate  to  be  jack-of -all-trades  and  all  things 
to  all  men.  In  a  situation  so  critical  as  ours  a  small 
matter  might  easily  develop  into  a  crisis  threatening  the 

The  plan  for  the  relief  work  required  a  highly  cen- 
tralized organization.  Instead  of  the  comparatively  sim- 
ple problem  of  feeding,  the  work  developed,  almost  in 
spite  of  itself,  into  a  comprehensive  plan  of  national 
preservation ;  all  under  the  drastic  conditions  imposed  by 
modern  warfare.2 


The  first  task  was  to  secure  reports  from  each  com- 
mune on  the  amount  of  destitution,  the  condition  of  em- 
ployment, the  prevalence  of  sickness,  the  possibility  of 
providing  work  for  the  workless,  and  the  need  of  food; 

1  See  Appendix  IX,  page  338. 
*  See  Appendix  X,  page  339. 


then  from  these  to  reduce  to  a  card-index  formula  the 
conditions  in  the  province  and  ultimately  the  condition 
of  every  individual  who  required  relief. 

In  a  borrowed  automobile  and  with  passes  which  I 
requested  from  the  German  authorities,  Messrs.  Frangois 
Franck,  A.  Palmans,  and  I  visited  the  village  of  Boisschot 
on  December  sixteenth.  The  conditions  we  found  there 
were  fairly  typical.  The  town  was  a  bare  oasis  of  wat- 
tled or  brick  cottages  in  the  less  prosperous  part  of  the 
province,  on  the  edge  of  what  Belgians  call  the  "  Cam- 
pine  " — a  country  district,  Oligocene  in  geological  forma- 
tion, supporting  scrub  evergreens  and  purple  heather  more 
readily  than  any  other  growing  thing,  and  cut  by  a  few 
slim  watercourses  lined  with  pollard  willows. 

Wayside  shrines  of  Our  Lady  of  Sorrows  were 
decorated  with  fluttering  strips  of  white  paper,  but  other- 
wise one  saw  few  signs  of  life.  Almost  every  village 
through  which  we  passed  had  been  hammered  with  shells. 
Chickens  and  live-stock  were  rarities.  Fear  of  the  Ger- 
mans was  universal. 

The  Town  House  of  Boisschot  was  a  small,  ugly 
building,  not  much  superior  to  the  old-fashioned  Little 
Red  School  House  of  American  pioneering  days.  The 
Burgomaster's  office  was  a  cold,  bare  rectangle,  with 
sanded  floors,  a  few  thin  chairs,  and  a  long  table  piled 
with  papers.  A  cheap  lithograph  of  King  Albert  and 
Queen  Elizabeth  hung  on  the  whitewashed  walls  of  the 
room,  and  a  framed  proclamation  printed  in  German, 


Flemish,  and  French,  signed  by  the  commandant  of  the 

Our  borrowed  Minerva  limousine  puffed  stertorously 
at  the  door  in  the  midst  of  a  crowd  of  wooden-shoed 
villagers — the  first  automobile  they  had  seen  in  four 
months;  while  inside  I  found  myself  vigorously  shaken 
by  the  hand  and  on  friendly  terms  with  a  big  blond 
Burgomaster  named  Baron  de  Gruben  and  a  thin, 
bearded  spectre  who  was  the  communal  secretary. 

Our  questionnaire  was  written  in  Flemish,  but  out  of 
deference  for  my  ignorance  the  questions  were  asked 
and  answered  in  French. 

"  Monsieur  le  Bourgmestre  le  Baron  de  Gruben,  it  is  a 
gentleman  very  excellent,"  whispered  Messrs.  Franck 
and  Palmans  before  we  began.  "  Most  of  our  burgo- 
masters ask  for  more  than  they  have  a  right  to.  He  is 
not  so.  He  is  a  fine  man,  that  Baron  de  Gruben.  You 
must  always  be  on  your  guard  with  the  Belgian  burgo- 
master, Monsieur  le  Delegue.  The  Belgian  is  a  man  who 
always  complains — qui  toujours  se  plaint.  And  he  is 
stubborn,  too.  Always  tell  him  what  he  must  not  do, 
then  he  will  do  what  you  wish.  He  is  a  man  who  goes  in 
the  door  marked  '  Exit '  and  comes  out  the  door  marked 
'  Entrance '!"  .  .  . 

Burgomaster  ?  "  Baron  de  Gruben,  present,"  we  wrote 
the  answer. 

Police  or  guard  ?    "  Monsieur  Jean  van  Caster  is  about 


to  return.  He  has  been  replaced  provisionally  by  a  private 

Doctors  ?     "  Messieurs  Dens  and  Goossens,  present." 

Instructors  ?  "  Two  under-instructors  are  prisoners  of 
war;  one  at  Munster,  the  other  at  Sennewald,  in  Ger- 

Clergy  ?  "  Monsieur  le  Cure  and  Monsieur  le  Vicaire 
were  made  prisoners  with  many  cures  of  neighboring 
towns.  Twenty  priests  are  interned  at  Munster." 

Notables?  "The  Germans  arrested  two  hundred 
civilians  and  transported  them  to  Germany.  Since  then 
one  hundred  have  been  released ;  those  over  forty-five  or 
under  sixteen  years  old.  The  others  are  interned  at 
Paderborn  in  Westphalia.  Among  the  prisoners  in  Ger- 
many are  thirty  fathers  of  families." 

Population  ?  "  Three  thousand  three  hundred,  of 
whom  nine  hundred  have  to  be  supported  by  charity. 

"The  town  was  never  bombarded  and  therefore  no 
houses  have  been  destroyed,  but  twice  the  whole  popula- 
tion fled  and  twice  the  town  was  pillaged, — private 
houses  and  public  buildings." 

Is  there  work?    "  There  is  no  work  of  any  sort." 

Is  there  a  relief  committee  ?  "A  small  volunteer  com- 
mittee is  struggling  to  give  soup  and  bread." 

What  money  is  on  hand  ?  "  The  treasury  has  two 
thousand  francs,  to  which  three  thousand  francs  is  about 
to  be  added  which  the  Burgomaster  has  secured  as  a  loan 
from  the  Comite  df  Assistance  of  Antwerp." 


Maladies?    "None." 

What  things  are  lacking?  "The  commune  suffers 
especially  for  lack  of  flour,  peas,  beans,  rice,  bacon,  her- 
ring, petroleum,  and  coal." 

Monthly  budget?  "For  the  clergy,  fifty  francs;  po- 
lice, ninety  francs;  personnel,  which  includes  the  school, 
still  open  in  spite  of  the  terrible  condition  of  the  times, 
one  thousand  one  hundred  francs;  electric  light,  one 
hundred  francs;  cost  of  communal  administration,  three 
hundred  and  ten  francs;  and  cost  of  maintaining  nine 
hundred  persons  in  distress,  five  thousand  four  hundred 
and  sixty  francs.  Total,  seven  thousand  one  hundred 
and  ten  francs." 

"  Now,  Monsieur  Burgomaster,  you  can  persuade  the 
communal  officers  to  reduce  their  own  salaries  from 
patriotic  motives  ?  " 

"  Yes,  I  think  so." 

"  They  have  done  so  in  many  communes  already, — re- 
duced their  salaries  one-half  or  one-third  or  two- 

"  That  is  excellent.    They  are  true  patriots !  " 

"And  the  Committee  will  allow  you  one  thousand 
francs  a  month." 

"  Ah,  messieurs,  thank  you !  thank  you !  We  shall  do 
our  best.  But  we  must  have  clothes,  too.  We  must  have 
blankets  and  clothes — anything.  Send  us  anything.  We 
have  been  twice  pillaged.  We  have  nothing.  We  still 
eat,  but  we  have  no  clothes." 


On  our  return  we  passed  through  Heyst  op  den  Berg, 
and  my  heart  thrilled  at  the  climb  out  of  the  flat  Belgian 
plain,  although  the  Berg  is  only  a  little  hill.  One  could 
imagine  oneself  for  a  moment  on  the  roof  of  the  world, 
after  the  incessant  monotony  of  Flemish  polders  and 
Campine.  From  the  Berg  on  a  clear  day  one  can  see 
Brussels  and  the  outlines  of  Antwerp.  From  that  hill, 
too,  the  Germans  had  battered  the  forts  of  Lierre  on  their 
final  thrust  into  Antwerp. 

In  Koningshoyckt,  a  town  of  three  thousand  inhabi- 
tants, ninety-eight  houses  had  been  completely  destroyed, 
and  twenty-seven  partially  destroyed.  In  so  small  a  vil- 
lage the  ruin  was  enormous.  The  church  was  anni- 
hilated, but  a  pert  statue  of  Leopold  First  stood  in  the 
public  square,  unharmed  by  the  shells. 

The  beautiful  old  town  of  Lierre  had  suffered  dread- 
fully from  bombardment.  It  had  been  mercilessly  ham- 
mered and  then  burned,  and  lay  in  a  confused  pile, 
smashed,  scorched,  and  outraged.  But  peasants  and 
burghers  were  cleaning  and  piling  bricks  in  the  yawning 
window  openings,  and  with  the  incorrigible  art-instinct  of 
the  Belgians  were  arranging  them  in  crosses  and  dia- 
monds instead  of  plain,  mathematical  courses.  A  few 
frame  shelters  were  appearing  in  the  ruins.  Typhoid 
raged.  Fire,  storm,  and  disease  had  been  loosed  on  the 
unhappy  people. 

The  town  of  Duffel,  too,  had  suffered  terribly.  It  lay 
in  a  country  of  kitchen  gardens  and  numbered'  eight 


thousand  people.  It  had  been  drowned  out  by  the  open- 
ing of  the  dykes  and  then  shot  to  pieces.  Three  thou- 
sand one  hundred  and  eighty  persons  were  being  fed  at 
the  public  expense,  and  the  town  had  literally  nothing. 
Two  hundred  and  fifty  houses  were  completely  demol- 
ished; all  the  others  had  suffered  more  or  less.  The 
commune  got  a  few  francs  every  day  for  relief  work  by 
taxing  all,  except  Germans,  who  crossed  the  bridge  over 
the  little  river  Nethe. 


Working  with  a  people  who  had  no  telegraph,  no  tele- 
phone, no  railways,  no  post  office,  and  no  freedom  of 
movement,  my  first  effort  was  to  establish  regular  com- 
munications with  Rotterdam  and  Brussels. 

Commission  telegrams,  written  in  German  and  sent 
through  the  German  Civil  Government  to  our  head- 
quarters, took  not  less  than  a  day  and  a  half  in  transit. 
We  could  not  use  the  military  telephone. 

To  go  from  Antwerp  to  Brussels  by  train,  a  journey 
which  by  rapide  in  peace  time  requires  about  thirty-five 
minutes,  now  took  two  and  a  quarter  hours.  A  pass  for 
this  journey  cost  three  marks,  and  the  railway  tariff  was 
twice  as  high  as  in  peace  time.1  There  were  few  trains 
and  these  were  uncertain. 

1  An  old  Flemish  peasant  applied  for  a  pass  at  Antwerp. 

"  How  long  is  this  pass  to  be  good  for  ? "  growled  the  Ger- 
man clerk. 

"  How  long  are  you  Germans  going  to  stay  in  Belgium, 
mynheer?"  countered  the  peasant. 


A  tugboat  captain  advertised  cheap  and  rapid  trans- 
portation from  Brussels  to  Antwerp  by  way  of  the 
Scheldt  and  the  canals,  but  this  trip  required  more  than 
half  a  day  and  seemed  a  curious  reversion  to  the  facili- 
ties of  the  'forties.  The  only  other  way  was  to  go  by 
cart  or  on  foot,  and  the  Antwerp-Brussels  highway  was 
filled  daily  with  nondescript  carryalls  or  little  jaunting 
carts  drawn  by  pitiful  horses,  donkeys,  and  dingo  dogs. 

To  go  to  Rotterdam  was,  of  course,  much  more  diffi- 

Edward  D.  Curtis,  courier  of  the  Commission,  or, 
as  he  preferred  to  be  called,  its  "  traveling  secretary," 
was  the  sole  reliable  means  of  communication  between 
the  Brussels  headquarters,  Antwerp,  and  the  Rotterdam 

Curtis  was  twenty-four  years  old,  a  graduate  of 
Harvard,  class  of  1914,  but  already  a  veteran  in  the 
service.  Twice  or  even  three  times  a  week  he  motored 
from  Brussels  to  Rotterdam,  carrying  the  Legation  mail- 
bags  for  Mr.  Whitlock,  the  Consular  mail  for  Consul- 
General  Henry  W.  Diederich,  and  the  Commission  mails 
for  Brussels,  Antwerp,  Rotterdam,  London,  and  New 
York ;  he  imported  new  members  of  the  Commission  and 
their  baggage;  and  at  odd  times  of  the  day  or  night  he 
turned  up  in  every  German  Kommandantur  en  route, 
usually  under  arrest,  but  always  imperturbable.  He 
throve  on  silence  and  relished  rules. 

He  drove  in  a  long,  low,  rakish  automobile,  given  him 


by  Mr.  Ernest  Solvay,  of  the  famous  Solvay  Process 
Company,  president  of  the  National  Committee ;  his  sole 
companion  a  smart  Belgian  chauffeur.  In  mud-colored 
raincoat  with  thick  fur  padding,  slouch  hat,  soft  shirt, 
and  high  boots,  Curtis  turned  up  always  unexpectedly  at 
Antwerp,  his  admirably  insolent  face  as  nearly  like  a 
Japanese  mask  as  he  could  make  it,  spattered  with  bits 
from  the  surface  of  Flemish  and  Dutch  highways.  His 
trips  were  not  regularized  until  January.  Then  a  system 
of  Commission  couriers  was  arranged  for  all  Belgium, 
and  Curtis  went  thrice  each  week  from  Brussels  through 
Antwerp  to  Bergen  op  Zoom,  where  he  met  a  special 
messenger  who  came  and  went  from  Rotterdam  by  train. 

About  ten  days  after  my  installation  at  Antwerp,  Cur- 
tis came  in  covered  with  mud  and  smiles  and  informed 
me  that  three  new  Americans  delegates  and  three  Over- 
land automobiles  were  on  their  way  from  Rotterdam  to 

"One  of  those  automobiles  is  mine;  n'est-ce  pas?"  I 
asked,  speaking  the  dialect  of  the  Commission — a  strange 
hodge-podge  of  English  and  French  with  an  occasional 
spice  of  Flemish. 

"  Brussels  say  they  intend  to  supply  themselves, 
and  afterwards  the  provinces." 

"  Tell  them  two  automobiles  are  coming.  This  office 
has  a  motto, — it's  '  Antwerp  first ! ' 

An  unexpected  move  by  the  German  police  made  my 


highwayman's  task  easy.  The  new  delegates  and  their 
cars  were  arrested  in  Antwerp,  and  kept  three  hours  at 
the  Kommandantur,  so  that  it  was  not  difficult  for  me 
to  confiscate  the  car  I  wanted.  .  .  . 

There  is  historical  precedent  for  my  conduct.  Once  on 
a  time  there  lived  a  giant  named  Druon  Antigon  in  a 
lowering  castle  where  Antwerp  now  stands.  Ship- 
masters who  rowed  up  the  Scheldt  to  trade  with  the 
ancient  Belgae,  or  sailed  down  river  to  carry  civiliza- 
tion and  liqueurs  to  the  painted  Picts  and  the  naked 
Frisians,  were  obliged  to  pay  toll  to  the  giant.  If  any 
refused,  old  Antigon  cut  off  the  customs-dodger's  right 
hand  and  threw  it  into  the  Scheldt;  and  from  this  high- 
handed procedure  on  the  part  of  the  first  douanier,  the 
Flemish  name,  Antwerpen, — from  hand,  "  hand  " ;  and 
werfen,  "  to  throw," — is  supposed  to  be  derived. 

The  legend  tells  further  of  a  young  hero  named  Brabo, 
an  ardent  free-trader,  it  seems,  who  objected  to  Antigen's 
tariff  restrictions,  fought  and  conquered  him,  and  then 
cut  off  the  giant's  hand  and  flung  it  into  the  river. 

Hence  my  seizure  of  the  automobile  had  excellent,  if 
perilous,  precedent.  .  .  . 

A  few  days  after  the  automobile  incident,  Curtis 
brought  me  two  aides,  Bennett  H.  Branscomb  and 
Oliver  C.  Carmichael,  American  Rhodes  Scholars  from 
Oxford  University,  slangily  called  "  Rhodesters,"  who 
had  volunteered  their  services  for  the  work  of  Belgian 


relief.  They  were  the  first  of  a  flood  of  young  Americans 
eager  to  help  the  Commission  and  Belgium  in  any  way 
they  could. 


The  canals  and  light  railways  *  are  the  life  of  Belgium. 
No  other  country  has  so  perfect  a  transport  system.  In 
Belgium,  as  in  Holland,  one  can  reach  almost  every  point 
by  water.  The  valleys  of  the  Scheldt  and  the  Meuse 
spring  like  the  sticks  of  a  fan  from  an  imaginary  center 
at  Rotterdam,  and  from  these  in  turn  in  all  directions 
radiate  navigable  waterways.  The  light  railways,  too, 
are  models  of  their  kind  in  cheapness  and  accessibility, 
but  many  light  railways  were  blocked,  or  had  suspended 
operations;  much  of  their  rolling-stock  had  been  de- 
stroyed, or  taken  into  Holland  before  the  German  ad- 
vance. As  for  the  canals,  some  of  the  dykes  had  been 
cut  and  were  not  yet  repaired;  bridges  had  been  blown 
up  for  military  reasons;  barges  had  been  sunk;  and  at 
important  points  the  Belgians  were  not  permitted  to  ap- 
proach the  canal  embankments  for  fear  they  might  at- 
tempt to  damage  the  system  to  the  detriment  of  the 
German  armies. 

On  December  seventeenth  Captain  Sunderland,  U.  S.  A., 
attached  to  the  American  Legation  in  The  Hague, 
visited  me  in  Antwerp  and  brought  an  urgent  request 

1  Narrow-gauge  steam  railways,  called  in  French,  vicinaux,  or 
neighborhood  railways. 


from  Captain  J.  F.  Lucey  at  Rotterdam  for  information 
regarding  the  Belgian  canals.  The  Rotterdam  office  had 
been  in  operation  for  eight  weeks,  yet  in  that  time  it  had 
secured  practically  no  information  regarding  the  condi- 
tion of  the  Belgian  waterways.  In  sheer  desperation 
Captain  Lucey  had  dispatched  canal-boats  of  flour,  rice, 
peas,  and  beans,  without  knowing  whether  the  canals 
were  navigable  or  blocked.1 

On  a  matter  so  vital  as  this  I  could  get  no  data  for 
more  than  a  week,  and  then  I  secured  it  from  a  Dutch 
spy  who  was  in  cahoots  with  the  Germans,  and  so  was 
able  to  travel  through  the  Etappen  district  and  along  the 

A  stream  of  supplies  glided  by  and  was  warehoused, 
milled,  distributed,  baked,  and  consumed.  Lighters  daily 
floated  up  the  Scheldt  bearing  romantic  names  such  as 
"  Marie  Germaine,"  "  Louisa/'  "  Ariel,;'  "  Deo  Gloria," 
"Helene,"  "Rosalia,"  "Dorothea,"  "Maria  Cecelia," 
"  Josephina,"  "  Madonna,"  "  Maria  Amelberga,"  "  Fred- 

1  In  the  province  of  Antwerp  the  canals  were1  clear,  except  at 
one  point.  Our  distribution  was  dependent  almost  exclusively  on 
the  waterways — a  troublesome  state  of  affairs  if  these  ways  should 
freeze.  The  center  of  distribution  was  the  city  of  Antwerp;  sub- 
centers — all  reached  by  canals — were  at  Turnhout,  Malines,  and 
Tamise.  Under  Antwerp  we  established  sixteen  cantonal  or  regional 
centers ;  under  Turnhout,  six ;  under  Malines,  two ;  and  under 
Tamise,  two.  From  each  of  these  centers,  food  was  shipped  once 
a  we'ek  by  wagon,  light  railway,  or  canal-boat.  In  every  commune 
there  was  a  distributing  center,  usually  in  the  schoolhouse  or  Town 
House,  where  the  supplies  were1  weighed  out  in  scales  verified  by  the 
American  delegate  or  his  inspector,  and  delivered  to  rich  and  poor 
alike  on  presentation  of  a  food-card. 


erika."  A  system  of  control  was  necessary,  so  that 
we  might  report  to  Rotterdam  and  Brussels  on  the 
passage  of  lighters  not  destined  for  Antwerp,  for  some- 
times we  spent  days  patrolling  the  canals  in  search  of  a 
lighter  which  had  dropped  from  sight  almost  as  if  swal- 
lowed by  Father  Scheldt  himself. 

I  appealed  to  Brussels  for  another  assistant,  especially 
for  this  work,  and  they  sent  us  W.  W.  Flint,  another  of 
the  indispensable  "  Rhodesters."  He  set  out  on  a  river 
boat  and  disappeared  for  five  days.  Then  he  returned 
to  Antwerp  with  a  tale  of  great  adventures,  arrests,  de- 
tentions, conferences,  and  agreements.  He  had  done  his 
work  well.  Lillo,  the  frontier  post  on  the  Scheldt,  was 
obviously  the  spot  for  our  control  station  to  report  on 
the  passage  of  Commission  lighters. 

Fort  Lillo  was  a  high,  old-fashioned  earthwork  on  the 
Scheldt:  a  few  trees,  a  few  small  Flemish  houses  in 
orderly  rows,  a  single  customs  house  overlooking  the  river 
— that  was  all.  When  we  motored  out  to  the  customs  post, 
our  limousine  completely  blocked  the  narrow  lane  before 
the  customs  house  and  drew  all  the  civil  and  military 
population  about  us.  Several  Landsturm  soldiers  strolled 
up,  puffing  away  at  their  pipes  and  staring.  The  Belgian 
population  ranged  itself  silently  about  the  car.  The  dead 
silence,  the  dropped  jaws,  the  fixed  eyes  of  such  crowds 
were  always  disconcerting  to  us,  but  our  Belgian 
chauffeur  seemed  as  indifferent  as  a  good  actor  before 
a  crowded  house. 


Two  Belgian  customs  officers  in  faded  green  uni- 
forms and  box  caps  came  out,  touched  their  foreheads, 
and  bowed  gravely.  We  explained  our  wants.  Ah,  we 
were  the  American  Commission,  then  ?  They  would  take 
delight  in  giving  us  the  names  of  all  Commission  lighters 
passing  Lillo.  Name  and  shipment  numbers,  then  ?  Per- 
haps the  German  officer  would  telegraph  this  informa- 
tion to  Mr.  Hunt  through  the  Civil  Government  at  Ant- 
werp, for  the  officer  was  obliging.  They,  the  Belgians, 
would  be  most  happy  to  furnish  the  information  regu- 
larly. We,  the  Americans,  were  saving  their  live^.  They 
were  infinitely  grateful. 

We  lifted  our  hats,  shook  hands  all  round,  and  motored 
to  a  small  bar-room, — the  office  of  the  commandant. 
He  was  a  lonely  young  under-officer  who  greeted  us 
with  obvious  pleasure  because  we  broke  the  monotony  of 
his  exile.  We  explained  our  business. 

"  Certainly,  certainly,"  he  said.  "  I  am  pleased  to 
help.  I  will  telephone  every  day  what  lighters  pass 
Lillo.  It  is  a  pleasure  to  help." 

A  day  or  two  before  Christmas,  1914,  Curtis  arrived 
from  Rotterdam  and  there  preceded  him  into  the  Ant- 
werp office  a  man  in  a  raincoat  and  automobile  cap,  his 
serious,  boyish  face  splashed  with  mud. 

"  Mr.  Hoover,"  explained  Curtis,  by  way  of  introduc- 


It  was  the  founder  and  Chairman  of  the  Commission 
for  Relief  in  Belgium. 

My  guest  quietly  took  a  chair  in  a  dark  corner  and 
required  no  further  attention  from  me,  although  I 
thought  he  listened  carefully  to  the  word  Curtis  brought 
me  from  Rotterdam,  and  to  the  messages  I  sent  by  him 
to  Brussels. 

"You  deserve  better  quarters,"  he  said  as  he  was 

"  I  have  them  already,"  I  answered.  "  Mr.  Edouard 
Bunge,  vice-president  of  our  Belgian  Committee,  has 
donated  an  excellent  suite  of  offices  in  his  bank  for  the 
Commission's  work." 

"Urn.  .  .  .  Good-by,"  he  said.  .  .  . 

That  was  my  first  encounter  with  Herbert  Clark 


One  of  the  thrilling  experiences  of  the  first  month's 
work  was  the  coming  of  the  "  Christmas  Ship," — the 
steamer  full  of  Christmas  gifts  presented  by  the  children 
of  America  to  the  children  of  war-ridden  Belgium.  I 
was  amazed  to  find  that  before  the  ship  docked  in  Rot- 
terdam the  Belgian  children  knew  all  about  it.  By  some 
occult  means  of  communication,  such  as  the  Sudanese  are 
reputed  to  employ,  they  had  heard  of  the  ship  and  under- 
stood its  meaning.  Saint  Nicholas's  day  had  brought 
them  few  presents.  They  were  hungry  for  friendliness, 


and  the  thought  of  getting  gifts  from  children  across  the 
sea  meant  unspeakable  joy  to  them. 

We  planned  to  distribute  the  presents  on  Christmas 
Day,  but  difficulties  arose.  The  German  authorities  de- 
creed that  every  package  should  be  opened  in  Rotterdam 
and  every  scrap  of  writing  taken  out  before  the  presents 
were  sent  into  Belgium.  It  was  a  tremendous  task  to 
search  the  gifts.  Notes  written  by  the  American  chil- 
dren to  the  Belgians  were  tucked  away  in  all  sorts  of 
places :  in  the  bottoms  of  bags  of  candy,  in  the  backs  of 
fairy  books,  in  dolls,  in  pairs  of  shoes,  in  babies*  dresses, 
— in  every  likely  and  unlikely  spot  which  a  child's 
imagination  could  think  of  as  a  convenient  receptacle  for 
writing.  And  all  the  charming,  naive  little  notes,  pain- 
fully copied  by  childish  hands,  had  to  be  removed  before 
the  presents  could  go  forward. 

It  was  too  late  to  get  them  into  Belgium  by  Christmas 
Day,  but  three  big  motor-boats  made  the  attempt.  One 
went  to  Brussels,  one  to  Liege,  and  one  came  to  Antwerp. 
It  brought  boxes  of  clothing,  outfits  for  babies,  blankets, 
caps,  bonnets,  cloaks,  shoes  of  every  description,  babies' 
boots,  candy  fish,  striped  candy  canes,  chocolates,  and 
mountains  of  nuts — nuts  such  as  the  Belgians  had  never 
seen  in  their  lives  before — pecans,  hickory  nuts,  Ameri- 
can walnuts,  and  peanuts  galore. 

In  one  of  the  boxes  of  peanuts  was  a  note  which  had 
escaped  the  vigilance  of  the  searchers  at  Rotterdam.  It 
was  from  Caleb  Moss,  of  Texarkana,  and  he  wrote  in 


perfect  certainty  that  the  Belgian  child  who  got  the  pea- 
nuts could  read  what  was  so  carefully  spelled  in  pain- 
ful English. 

"  I  dug  these  peanuts  myself  for  you,"  the  letter  ran. 
"  Please  write  me  that  you  got  them  and  what  the  Ger- 
mans did  to  you  and  all."  .  .  . 

There  were  scores  of  dolls,  French  bisques  smiling 
pleasantly,  pop-eyed  rag  dolls,  old  darky  mammy  dolls, 
and  Santa  Clauses ;  picture  books,  fairy  books,  and  story 
books.  One  child  had  written  in  the  cover  of  her  book, 
"  Father  says  I  ought  to  send  you  my  best  picture  book 
but  I  think  that  this  one  will  do." 

I  remember  six  linsey-woolsey  dresses  of  a  sort  worn 
only  in  the  Kentucky  and  Tennessee  mountains,  pitifully 
ugly  and  cheap,  but  symbolizing  as  fine  charity  as  any- 
thing among  the  gifts.  And  there  were  bunched  ears  of 
corn  tied  with  twine,  given  by  Americans  as  poor  as  the 
Belgians  for  whom  they  were  intended.  These  things 
made  American  sympathy  more  real  to  me  than  all  the 
rest.  My  countrymen  had  "  given  what  they  could." 

As  a  direct  result  of  these  gifts,  all  Belgium  learned 
the  meaning  of  America's  aid.  Hitherto  the  people  had 
known  us  officially  through  our  Minister  and  through 
those  of  us  who  were  beginning  our  service  as  delegates 
of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium.  The  gifts  made 
us  and  our  country  the  personal  givers  of  what  Belgium 
was  to  eat  and  to  wear  through  the  months  or  years  of 


war.    Never  after  that  was  American  help  thought  of  in 
terms  other  than  those  of  burning  gratitude. 

Replicas  of  the  American  flag  were  scattered  among 
the  Christmas  gifts,  and  through  them  our  flag  became 
familiar  to  all  Belgium.  Its  sensational  and  violent  sym- 
bolism must  have  seemed  strange  in  a  land  accustomed 
for  the  most  part  to  tri-colors,  vertically  or  horizontally 
striped,  but  the  Belgians  loved  our  flag.  At  first  we 
bore  it  on  all  Commission  automobiles,  and  our  trips  fre- 
quently caused  delightful  demonstrations.  The  children, 
especially,  were  sure  to  recognize  the  red-white-and-blue 
and  to  wave  and  cheer  as  we  darted  by,  although  I  think 
there  was  a  shade  of  disappointment  when  they  first 
learned  that  "  the  Americans  "  were  not  red-skins,  that 
they  did  not  wear  feathers  in  their  hair,  and  that  in 
many  respects  they  resembled  the  familiar  Belgian  type 
of  bifurcated  human  animal.  Later  they  thought  of 
Americans  as  only  a  little  lower  than  the  angels. 

A  beautiful  letter  of  gratitude  for  the  Christmas  gifts 
was  printed  by  the  children  of  Antwerp  to  send  to  their 
American  friends.  The  presses  and  even  the  type  used, 
were  made  by  the  famous  printer,  Christopher  Plantin, 
who  lived  in  Antwerp  three  hundred  and  fifty  years  ago, 
and  the  impressions  were  struck  off  in  the  press-rooms 
of  the  Plantin-Moretus  Museum,  where  Plantin  printed 
and  Rubens  chatted  with  him  at  his  work.  The  seal  of 
the  city  of  Antwerp,  with  the  towers  and  roses  and  the 


severed  hands  of  Druon  Antigon,  were  set  on  the  letter, 
together  with  the  seal  of  Christopher  Plantin  and  the 
round  signatures  of  the  children. 


There  followed  lighter  after  lighter  of  gifts;  food 
which  meant  to  the  Belgian  people  not  only  health  and 
life,  but  sympathy  and  support;  gifts  which  were  touch- 
ing evidence  that  their  fate  had  not  been  forgotten  in 
the  free  world  beyond  the  lines  of  barbed-wire  and 
bayonets.  In  the  half  year  to  come,  all  or  part  of  the 
cargoes  of  one  hundred  and  two  ships  was  gift  goods, 
and  included  in  the  number  were  entire  gift-ships :  five 
from  Canada,  three  from  the  Rockefeller  Foundation  in 
New  York,  two  from  the  New  York  Belgian  Relief 
Fund,  two  from  Philadelphia  and  the  State  of  Pennsyl- 
vania, one  from  "  the  Northwestern  Miller  "  group  of 
Minneapolis,1  and  one  from  California.  Publications 
such  as  the  Literary  Digest  and  Christian  Herald  of 
New  York,  solicited  funds  for  the  purchase  of  flour, 
Governors  and  Premiers  issued  appeals,  and  Belgian 
relief  committees  spontaneously  organized  in  every  state 
of  the  American  Union,  Hawaii,  all  parts  of  the  United 
Kingdom,  New  South  Wales,  Canada,  Victoria,  India, 
New  Zealand,  Australia,  Queensland,  Tasmania,  South 
Africa,  the  Argentine,  China,  Italy,  Holland,  and  Spain. 

1  See  Appendix  XI,  page  341. 

m  c  m  jc 

iBtlgian  tttuu 

itl)  roe  cotDtal  tfmnte  of  tije 
poor  cfnlDrrn  of  atntDUcrp 
to  rtmr  (nnd-ljeartrti  coimaDto 
of  rlic  iDutrrD  *>tatc o  for  tDnr 
nice  Cftnftmaa  presents;,  s^  s^  s^  s^  s^  s^ 


Printed  with  the  old 
original  types  of 

25  Dec.  1914. 

Christophorus  Plantinus 


Souvenir  made  by  the  children  of  Antwerp  to  send  to  the  children  of 



About  one-half  of  the  total  contributions  came  from 
the  United  States. 

A  flood  of  Belgian  acknowledgments  greeted  these 
gifts.  The  provincial  offices  of  the  Commission  in  Bel- 
gium were  stacked  with  beautiful  souvenirs  for  the 
American  people.  Silk  banners,  wrought  metal  boxes, 
leather  work,  a  magnificent  carpet  woven  on  the 
famous  looms  at  Westerloo  and  intended  for  the  White 
House  in  Washington,  lace  souvenirs  of  great  value  and 
rare  beauty,  medallions  symbolizing  America's  benevo- 
lent protection,  picture  post-cards,  and  etchings  were 
among  the  gifts. 

But  the  most  touching  and  the  most  original  souvenirs 
were  made  of  American  flour  sacks.  No  one  knows  who 
first  planned  these  gifts.  They  seemed  to  spring  up  spon- 
taneously in  all  parts  of  Belgium  as  the  simplest  expres- 
sion of  the  feelings  of  the  people.  To  take  the  sacks, 
emptied  of  their  precious  flour,  and  turn  them  into 
souvenirs  for  the  American  donors  was  an  inspiration, 
and  some  of  the  results  have  been  very  beautiful. 
Most  of  them  are  embroidered  with  designs  in  finest 
needlework,  and  lettered  "  Homage  to  America," 
"  Thanks  to  America,"  "  Out  of  Gratitude  to  America," 
"  Grateful  Belgium  to  Kind  America,"  "  To  the  Saviour 
of  Belgium,"  or  in  simplest  Flemish  or  French, 
"Thanks."  One  of  them  shows  Lady  Columbia  with  a 
Belgian  baby  in  her  lap  and  is  inscribed,  "  The  Protect- 
ing Mother  of  Belgium." 


For  to  the  Belgian  people  one  thing  seems  very  clear : 
that  they  would  have  starved  without  the  intervention  of 

Their  gratitude  also  is  poured  out  to  Canada,  and  to 
Great  Britain  as  a  whole.  The  Belgians  are  intensely 
loyal  to  their  allies.  Little  British  flags  decorate  many 
of  the  souvenirs,  and  in  one  of  the  na'ive  attempts  to 
bracket  Canada  and  the  United  States  as  benefactors  of 
Belgium,  a  map  has  been  drawn  showing  North  America, 
which  is  lettered  "the  United  States,"  and  South 
America,  which  is  lettered  "  Canada." 

Charming  gifts  came  to  the  delegates  as  unofficial  rep- 
resentatives of  the  American  people.  On  the  morning 
of  New  Year's  Day  our  butler  presented  us  with  a 
pot  of  beautiful  cyclamen  and  made  us  a  little  speech 
explaining  that  the  blossoms  were  not  his  gift  only; 
"  they  are  from  all  the  Belgian  people  to  messieurs  les 

There  was  a  sacramental  blessing  in  such  gifts,  and 
even  when  we  laughed,  as  sometimes  we  did  at  the  quaint- 
ness  or  the  crudeness  of  some  of  the  offerings,  our  laugh- 
ter was  never  far  from  tears. 

Some  of  the  most  touching  remembrances  came  from 
children  in  all  parts  of  the  province.  Every  child  in  the 
town  of  Tamise,  for  example,  wrote  a  letter  to  America 
and  deposited  it  with  me  for  transmission.  All  are  in 


Flemish,  and  the  handwriting  gives  a  fair  indication  of 
the  age  of  the  authors.  This  one  is  by  a  little  boy  about 
nine  years  old. 

Good  People  of  America: 

If  I  had  a  flying  machine  I  would  fly  to  America  to 
thank  the  brave  people  there.  I  haven't  one,  so  I 
write  a  little  letter,  and  I  tell  you  that  I  shall  pray  very 
much  for  you  and  never  forget  you. 


This  is  by  a  boy  of  ten : 

To  Our  Friends  in  America: 

How  glad  I  am  that  I  can  thank  you  out  of  my  whole 
heart,  brave  people  of  America,  for  all  the  things  to  eat 
and  the  warm  clothing  that  you  sent  us,  for  without  it  we 
should  certainly  have  died  of  hunger  and  cold.  I  want  to 
come  to  America  myself  to  thank  all  the  brave  people. 


This  is  by  a  still  younger  child : 

Dear  America: 

I  thank  you  because  you  sent  great  big  boats  over  the 
great  sea — cat-boats — rice,  corn,  bacon,  stockings,  clothing, 
and  shoes.  I  know  that  you  like  the  little  Belgians,  and  I 
like  you,  too.  ACHIEL  MAES. 

Saint  Josef  School,  Cauwerburg,  Tamise. 

The  letters  are  always  childishly  specific.  A  little  boy 
of  ten  or  eleven  writes: 

Dear  Americans: 

It  is  war  here.  We  have  known  hunger  and  need.  We 
have  been  fugitives.  But,  thank  God,  America  helped  us 


out  of  need  by  sending  us  clothing,  beans,  bacon,  and  bread. 
We  thank  America  and  the  Americans  also,  and  every  day 
we  pray  Our  Father  for  brave  America. 


Here  is  another: 

Brave  People  of  America: 

It  is  now  war  with  us,  and  starvation  has  stood  before 
the  door.  Our  friends  of  America  sent  us  meal,  flour, 
bacon,  and  clothing,  and  we  were  freed  from  hunger  and 
cold.  Brave  people  of  America,  be  therefore  a  thousand 
times  thanked. 


Letters  from  the  little  girls  are  equally  charming  and 
naive.  One  of  them  runs: 

Oh,  dear  Americans,  I  am  still  small.  My  words  can- 
not tell  you  very  well  how  I  want  to  thank  you,  but,  dear 
Americans,  you  must  feel  my  heart. 

I  pray  every  day  to  the  good  God  that  He  shall  bless 
your  lives  and  that  He  shall  spare  you  from  war,  hunger,  and 
all  other  horrors. 

Take,  then,  loving  and  noble  gentlemen,  with  my  deep- 
est feelings,  the  thanksgiving  of  my  elder  brothers  and 

'  A  thankful  heart, 


The  next  child  is  about  twelve,  and  has  decorated  her 
letter  with  a  very  attractive  border  in  the  Belgian  na- 
tional colors.  "Ik  ben  de  kleinste  van  ons  huis"  she 
writes,  "  en  kan  de  meesie  boterhammen  eten  " — 


I  am  the  littlest  one  in  our  house  and  can  eat  the  most 
bread-and-butter,  and  now  that  our  bread  is  made  of  such 
good  flour  I  can  hardly  leave  a  piece  of  it  alone.  It  is  thanks 
to  you  that  I  can  eat  so  well,  for  your  flour  is  delicious,  and 
in  order  to  thank  you  I  pray  the  Giver  of  All  Good  that  He 
will  bless  you.  Your  faithful, 


Another  little  girl  about  ten  years  old  writes: 

I  often  saw  Mother  weep  when  we  came  downstairs  in 
the  morning,  because  she  could  not  give  us  the  bread  we 
asked  for,  because  there  was  no  flour.  But  you  have  dried 
her  tears  with  the  good  flour  which  you  have  sent. 

"  Drying  tears   with  flour "   may   sound   amusing,  but 
Julia  Soevenirs  was  expressing  a  very  serious  feeling. 

The  next  letter,  from  Jennie  Ketels,  speaks  of  the 
method  by  which  food  imported  by  the  Commission  for 
Relief  in  Belgium  is  sold  to  those  able  to  pay  for  it,  the 
profit  going  to  relieve  the  destitute. 

It  v/as  so  sad  here.  There  was  almost  nothing  more  to 
eat,  but  dear  America  has  come  to  our  help.  You  sent  us 
flour,  rice,  maize,  and  clothing,  and  in  Tamise  now  there 
is  also  a  little  shop  where  one  can  buy  things  to  eat  at  the 
usual  prices,  and  that  also  is  thanks  to  you,  O  good  Amer- 
icans. What  would  have  become  of  our  dear  Belgian  land 
without  you ! 

The  following  refers  to  the  same  little  shop: 

Business  lies  all  still  here,  and  so  Father  is  without 
work.  And  we  should  certainly  have  had  to  eat  up  the  very 


last  penny  we  had,  if  it  were  not  that  gracious  America 
came  to  our  help.  Thanks,  good  gentlemen,  for  the  shop 
opened  here  in  Tamise,  where  we  can  buy  our  food  at  the 
usual  prices.  I  shall  pray  the  Lord  that  He  will  bless  you. 
Your  thankful, 


The  next  letter  is  a  charming  tribute: 

I  have  often  heard  a  little  girl  friend  of  mine  speak  of 
an  uncle  who  sent  her  many  things  from  America,  and  I 
was  jealous.  But  now  I  have  more  than  one  uncle,  and 
they  send  me  more  than  my  friend's  uncle  did,  for  it  is 
thanks  to  you,  dear  uncles,  that  I  can  have  a  good  slice  of 
bread  every  day. 


Suzanne  de  Gibber's  letter  is  philosophical: 

I  have  often  heard  people  speak  of  great  and  rich 
America,  but  with  my  childish  understanding  I  could  not 
imagine  that  it  was  possible.  Yet  now  that  Mother  tells 
us  every  day,  '  This  bread,  this  bacon  comes  from  our 
friends  in  America,'  I  am  overjoyed  that  your  land  is  not 
only  rich,  but  that  its  inhabitants  are  kind-hearted  and 
lovingly  disposed  toward  the  tried  Belgians. 

There  is  more  than  a  touch  of  Flemish  humor  in  the 
next  letter: 

If  you  could  see  me  now  you  would  not  know  me,  for 
I  am  dressed  entirely  in  a  little  American  suit  of  clothes. 
Oh,  what  a  warm,  solid  suit  it  is ! 


And  here  is  a  letter  intended  for  the  President  of  the 
United  States: 

Highly  Honored  Mr.  President: 

Although  I  am  still  very  young,  I  feel  already  that  feel- 
ing of  thankfulness  which  we  as  Belgians  owe  to  you, 
highly  honored  Mr.  President,  because  you  have  come  to 
our  help  in  these  dreary  times.  Without  your  help  there 
would  certainly  have  been  thousands  of  war  victims,  and  so, 
noble  sir,  I  pray  that  God  will  bless  you  and  all  the  noble 
American  people. 

That  is  the  wish  of  all  the  Belgian  folk. 



Belgium  gave  her  word  of  honor  to  defend  her  inde- 
pendence. She  has  kept  her  word. 

The  other  Powers  had  agreed  to  protect  and  to  respect 
Belgian  neutrality:  Germany  has  broken  her  word;  Eng- 
land has  been  faithful  to  it. 

These  are  the  facts  .   .    . 

I  consider  it  an  obligation  of  my  pastoral  charge  to 
define  to  you  your  conscientious  duties  toward  the  Power 
which  has  invaded  our  soil,  and  which,  for  the  moment, 
occupies  the  greater  part  of  it. 

This  Power  has  no  authority,  and  therefore  in  the  depth 
of  your  heart  you  should  render  it  neither  esteem,  nor 
attachment,  nor  respect. 

The  only  legitimate  power  in  Belgium  is  that  which 
belongs  to  our  King,  to  his  Government,  to  the  Repre- 
sentatives of  the  Nation.  That  alone  is  authority  for  us. 
That  alone  has  a  right  to  our  heart's  affection,  and  to  our 


These  are  the  words  I  read  in  a  little  green-bound  book- 
let called  "  Patriotism  and  Endurance/*  sent  me  about 
Christmastime.  Inside  had  been  written  in  English  in 
a  firm,  delicate  hand :  "To  Mr.  Edward  Eyre  Hunt, 
Cordial  souvenir,  *  D.  J.  Card.  Mercier,  Archbishop  of 

It  was  the  famous  New  Year's  pastoral.  Its  author 
is  the  bravest  man  in  Belgium.* 

The  Cardinal-Archbishop  is  like  a  Degas  painting,  if 
Degas  had  pictured  Cardinals  instead  of  ballet-dancers. 
He  receives  in  a  tiny  whitewashed  room  furnished  with 
horsehair  chairs,  walnut-wood  desk  and  table,  and  a 
small  coal  stove.  On  the  wall  is  a  beautiful  little  image 
of  the  Virgin,  framed  in  glass.  Through  the  windows 
one  looks  into  a  dead  garden  where  shells  have  plunged 
and  burst. 

From  the  archiepiscopal  closet  one  may  wander 
through  long  white  halls  and  cloisters,  formerly  open  to 
wind  and  rain,  I  suspect,  now  closed  and  glassed  from 
the  elements  by  a  less  heroic  race.  One  may  see  the 
salon  which  used  to  be  a  hall  of  state,  where  German 
shells  have  torn  through  the  roof  and  burst,  leaving 
jagged  fragments  in  the  tall  mirrors,  so  that  the  glass 
is  splintered  like  ice  under  the  hammer  and  flings 
grotesque  reflections  and  spars  of  light  into  the  emptiness 
overhead.  The  dais  with  its  crimson  hangings  drops  in 
shreds;  the  hardwood  floor  is  plowed  and  uprooted,  and 

1  See  Appendix  XII,  page  341. 


carven  cherubim  smile  placidly  from  the  wreckage.  In 
still  another  room  huddle  paintings  of  Archbishops  of  old : 
saints  and  politicians,  ascetics,  and  men  of  the  world, 
long  forgotten  now  in  spite  of  their  imposing 
Louis  Quatorze  wigs;  and  among  them  the  familiar 
faces  of  the  Popes,  Pius  IX,  Leo  XIII,  and  Bene- 
dict XV. 

The  Cardinal  seems  preternaturally  tall;  six  feet  five, 
I  think.  His  face,  thin,  scholarly,  ascetic,  with  sparse, 
grayish-white  hair  above  it,  is  bloodless,  and  his  forehead 
so  white  that  one  feels  one  looks  on  the  naked  bone. 
His  eyes  are  deep-set,  the  eyes  of  a  man  who  sees  a 
great  deal.  There  is  a  pleasantly  humorous  look  about 
the  corners  of  the  firm  mouth,  but  the  expression  of  his 
face  in  conversation  is  that  of  a  man  who  knows  what 
he  thinks,  measures  what  he  says,  and  feels  in  advance 
the  exact  effect  of  every  remark  he  makes  and  of  every 
look  he  casts  upon  one.  His  black  habit  with  the 
cardinal-red  braid,  the  heavy  gold  chain  about  his  neck, 
and  the  heavy  gold  cross  at  his  breast,  the  wide  violet 
sash  and  the  black-skirted  cassock — all  serve  to  empha- 
size the  old  ivory  whiteness  and  tooled  artistry  of  the  fine 
face  above  them. 

There  is  something  feminine  in  the  Cardinal's  face,  a 
feminine  deference  and  sympathy  and  comprehension 
perhaps,  but  the  effect  which  he  makes  on  a  caller  is  the 
same  as  he  makes  on  the  world  at  large — that  of  a -finely 


poised,  keenly  intelligent,  yet  very  gentle  Prince  of  the 
Church  and  shepherd  of  a  nation. 

The  beginning  of  the  war  found  the  Catholic  Party 
in  Belgium  vacillating.  Two  or  three  of  its  leaders  in 
Parliament  and  at  least  one  in  the  Cabinet  counseled 
against  resistance  to  the  invaders.  When  the  German 
armies  overran  eastern  Belgium  many  priests  ran  away 
from  their  flocks.  Now  religion  in  certain  classes  in 
Belgium  is  hardly  more  than  skin-deep,  and  the  timid 
patriotism  of  some  of  the  Catholic  authorities  might  well 
have  cost  the  Church  its  leadership  if  the  Cardinal  had  not 
taken  his  firm  stand.  The  pastoral  letter  was  good 
politics  and  it  was  also  a  noble  assertion  of  what  was  in 
every  liberty-loving  heart  and  in  the  Cardinal's  most 
of  all.  In  him  conquered  Belgium  found  a  voice.  She 
recovered  her  pride  and  something  of  her  old  buoyancy 
and  resistance  to  the  Germans  became  bolder.  Belgium 
had  re-discovered  her  leaders. 

On  New  Year's  Sunday,  1915,  every  priest  at  the 
mass  read  out  the  Cardinal's  ringing  challenge  to  the 
nation.  German  soldiers  were  in  the  churches,  but  by 
some  mysterious  means  the  letter  had  been  distributed 
to  the  priests  without  a  word  of  it  reaching  the  ears 
of  the  authorities,  and  the  astonished  soldiers  could 
only  listen  in  open-mouthed  amazement.  The  Governor- 
General  appears  to  have  been  taken  completely  by  sur- 
prise. But  after  the  first  mass  orders  came  swiftly 

^     r 



from  headquarters  prohibiting  further  readings  and  de- 
manding that  every  copy  of  the  letter  be  surrendered  to 
the  Germans.  Soldiers  forced  their  way  into  churches 
and  rectories  and  extorted  the  letter  from  the  priests  at 
the  bayonet's  point;  the  readers  were  arrested  for  re- 
calcitrance and  haled  to  Kommandanturs;  but  in  spite  of 
these  measures,  copies  of  the  letter  were  scattered  abroad, 
and  on  the  second  Sunday,  in  churches  in  practically 
every  city  in  Belgium,  priests  read  out  the  Cardinal's 
sonorous  words. 

Meanwhile  in  Malines  a  dramatic  struggle  was  on. 
The  archiepiscopal  printer,  Mr.  Charles  Dessain,  Burgo- 
master of  Malines,  was  in  England.  His  brother  Fran- 
cis, the  acting  Burgomaster,  an  Oxford  graduate  and  a 
prominent  lawyer,  printed  the  letter  in  his  brother's  book- 
shop and  had  it  delivered  to  the  Cardinal's  secretary. 
On  New  Year's  night  Mr.  Francis  Dessain  was  awak- 
ened at  midnight  by  the  rattle  of  gravel  against  his  win- 
dow. He  looked  out  to  see  five  muffled  figures  standing 
in  the  street  below,  one  of  whom  asked  him  in  French 
to  come  down  and  open  the  door.  When  the  bolts  had 
been  slipped  back  in  the  big  Flemish  door  and  an  open- 
ing appeared,  wide  enough  for  a  man's  arm,  Mr.  Des- 
sain was  suddenly  seized,  and  a  voice  hissed :  "  Say  a 
word  and  you  will  be  shot ! " 

The  door  swung  wide.  In  stepped  a  German  in 
civilian  clothes  and  four  others  in  the  uniform  of  offi- 
cers. Behind  them  came  a  squad  of  soldiers  with  'fixed 


bayonets,   who   stood   guard   in   the   halls   and   court- 

Mr.  Dessain  was  taken  into  his  library ;  there  the  offi- 
cers and  he  sat  down,  and  a  long  examination  began. 
As  it  proceeded,  Mr.  Dessain' s  eye  fell  on  a  printed 
copy  of  the  proscribed  letter  lying  in  plain  view  on  his 
desk.  He  felt  an  insane  desire  to  conceal  that  particular 
copy;  an  insane  anxiety  for  fear  the  Germans  would 
discover  it. 

At  two  o'clock  in  the  morning  the  examination  ended. 
Mr.  Dessain  was  ordered  to  prison;  but  as  he  stood 
up  to  leave  the  room,  he  unobtrusively  reached  for 
the  copy  of  the  pastoral  letter,  covered  it  with  another 
book,  and  then  marched  off  with  his  mind  relieved  of 
a  very  heavy  burden. 

In  the  case  of  the  Cardinal,  of  course,  the  problem 
for  the  Germans  was  much  more  difficult  than  in  the 
case  of  the  printer.  They  could  not  imprison  a  Prince 
of  the  Church  for  fear  of  its  evil  effect  on  German 
Catholic  opinion;  so  Governor-General  von  Bissing 
adopted  the  easier  plan  of  sending  an  emissary  to  the 
Cardinal  to  demand  that  the  letter  be  suppressed  in  toto, 
on  the  ground  that  it  would  incite  to  rebellion.  The 
Cardinal  refused  to  recall  the  letter.  The  emissary  then 
submitted  a  set  of  propositions  for  the  Cardinal's  signa- 
ture, meanwhile  intimating  to  His  Eminence  that  the 
Governor-General  wished  him  to  remain  in  his  palace  for 


the  present.  This  quasi-confinement  lasted  only  for  a 
day,  but  it  was  the  foundation  for  sensational  rumors  of 
the  Cardinal's  imprisonment.  Of  course  the  Cardinal 
signed  none  of  the  papers  submitted  to  him. 

The  net  result  of  this  manceuvering  was,  as  I  have  said, 
that  a  few  bold  priests  actually  read  the  letter  on  two 
Sundays  in  succession,  that  every  man,  woman,  and  child 
in  Belgium  knew  its  contents,  and  that  the  outside  world 
buzzed  with  conjectures. 

The  Cardinal  was  quickly  released,  and  the  printer, 
after  three  days  in  prison,  was  tried  and  sentenced  to  pay 
a  fine  of  five  hundred  marks. 


Patriotism  was  a  cult.  Symbols  were  marvelously 
dear.1  Puzzles  showing  when  the  war  would  end  or 
prognosticating  the  date  of  the  Kaiser's  death  were 
reverenced  to  an  extraordinary  degree.  Medallions  of 
King  Albert,  Queen  Elizabeth,  Prince  Leopold,  Duke  of 
Brabant,  Prince  Charles  Theodore,  Count  of  Flanders, 
and  the  curly-headed  Princess,  Marie  Jose,  were  treasured 
like  sacred  relics.  The  Belgian  flag  was  forbidden, 
but  black-yellow-and-red  cord  was  used  in  wrapping 
packages  in  the  shops ;  blouses  were  made  in  the  national 
colors;  hats  were  trimmed  with  them;  and  little  rosettes 
of  them  were  worn  in  all  patriotic  buttonholes. 

1  See  Appendix  XII,  page  341. 


Even  the  hands  of  a  man's  watch  were  an  indication 
of  his  patriotism.  European  Central  time — the  standard 
time  of  the  German  Empire — was  forced  upon  Belgium 
by  the  military  in  order  to  avoid  conflicts  in  time  with 
Berlin.  The  Belgians  ordinarily  keep  Greenwich  time — 
a  full  hour  earlier  than  German  time — and  they  stub- 
bornly refused  to  accept  the  new  time,  even  with  the 
weight  of  the  law  behind  it.  Clocks  on  church  towers 
and  in  all  public  places  were  obliged  to  keep  German 
time,  or  those  responsible  for  their  upkeep  were  fined. 
It  was  no  excuse  to  plead  that  one's  clock  was  an  hour 
slow:  the  Germans  knew  better. 

The  thing  was  comic — especially  if  one  remembers 
the  time-worn  charge  against  the  Germans  in  1 870*7 1 : 
that  they  always  stole  French  clocks!  But  it  was  not 
so  funny  when  one  began  to  mix  engagements.  We 
Americans  kept  Belgian  time.  If  we  arranged  for  a 
German  to  call  at  one  and  a  Belgian  to  call  at  twelve, 
they  arrived  at  exactly  the  same  moment  and  glowered 
at  each  other  in  the  ante-room.  The  cathedral  clock  in 
Antwerp  furnishes  time  for  the  whole  country-side.  The 
clock  was  obliged  to  record  German  time,  of  course ;  but 
when  the  city  fathers  sent  out  notices  of  municipal  meet- 
ings, they  avoided  the  suggestion  that  the  clock  kept 
unpatriotic  time  by  stating  that  the  meeting  would  be,  say, 
at  two  o'clock,  "  hour  of  the  Tower."  * 

1  There  was  an  Antwerp  family  whose  patriotism  was  under 
suspicion,  because,  it  was  rumored,  they  kept  German  time. 


Many  clocks  in  public  places  were  allowed  to  run  down 
as  a  patriotic  protest. 

But  simple  matters  like  these  constantly  bordered  on 
tragedy.  On  the  night  of  December  thirty-first  at  about 
eleven  o'clock  Belgian  time  there  was  an  outbreak  of 
shooting  and  yelling  in  the  streets  of  Antwerp.  People 
fled  to  their  cellars  as  they  had  done  during  the  bombard- 
ment three  months  before.  The  big  guns  in  some  of  the 
forts  began  booming  and  close  at  hand  in  the  town  echoed 
volleys  of  musketry  and  isolated  shots.  It  sounded  as  if 
rioting  had  broken  out  and  as  if  the  Germans  were  quell- 
ing it  with  tremendous  uproar.  Then  down  the  streets 
rolled  the  sudden  blare  of  a  band  and  a  mighty  chorus 
of  voices  beginning  "  The  Watch  on  the  Rhine/'  ...  It 
was  midnight,  German  time,  and  the  soldiers  were  cele- 
brating the  birth  of  a  new  year. 

The  tenacious  patriotism  which  had  been  awakened  by 
the  war  is  new  in  Belgian  history.  Local  pride,  local 
traditions,  local  dialects  and  manners  had  been  developed 
at  the  expense  of  wider  civic  loyalties.  The  Belgian  state 
was  not  in  existence  before  1830;  but  the  Belgian  com- 
mune has  been  in  existence  from  time  immemorial.  It 
had  survived  under  an  almost  endless  trampling  of  for- 
eign armies.  Spaniard,  Austrian,  French-  and  Dutch- 
man marched  over  it  with  the  centuries.  So  that  the 
commune,  not  the  nation,  was  the  Belgian  fatherland. 

But   war,    which   translated   their   parochialism    into 


patriotism,  stole  from  the  people  their  new-found  coun- 
try and  their  King,  set  foreigners  to  rule  over  them,  and 
thrust  them  impotently  back  again  into  their  narrow  com- 
munes. The  pity  of  it  can  never  be  told :  the  shame  of  it, 
the  broken  pride,  and  the  baffled  longing.  Ruined  and 
embittered,  they  turned  for  consolation  inward  upon 
themselves,  or  to  the  Church. 

One  day,  long  after  the  event,  there  came  a  big,  black- 
bordered  announcement  that  the  nineteen-year-old  son 
of  an  Antwerp  house  had  been  killed  at  the  Yser. 
Later  still  his  body  was  brought  home  for  burial 
through  England  and  Holland — the  only  instance  of  the 
sort  which  I  recall.  One  of  my  Belgian  friends  described 
the  service. 

"  We  are  forbidden  to  have  our  flag,  but  a  priest 
brought  it  and  laid  it  over  the  coffin,  and  in  that  naked 
church,  where  we  stood  about  him  with  our  candles,  it 
seemed  a  sacrament  of  all  the  body  and  blood  of 
Belgium  poured  out  in  this  war.  I  am  not  a  believer, 
but  I  wept. 

"  At  the  last  the  organ  played  the  '  Brabangonne.'  It 
was  heart-rending  to  hear  our  national  anthem  played  so 
and  at  such  a  time.  I  knew  abject  despair  at  that  mo- 
ment, and  there  was  not  one  there  who  did  not  weep, 
except  him  that  was  in  the  coffin." 

Always  on  quiet  nights,  often  in  the  daytime,  we 
heard  the  guns.  The  hard  pulse-beat  of  cannon  along 


the  Yser  or  on  the  North  Sea  filled  all  that  one  thought  or 
did.  Hope  flew  like  wild  winds  over  Belgium  if  the 
noise  were  unusually  loud ;  but  it  was  hope  mingled  with 
fear.  The  people  of  Antwerp  often  talked  of  what 
seemed  to  them  an  inevitable  thing — the  second  bombard- 
ment of  their  city — when  their  rescuers,  the  British  and 
French,  rolled  back  the  German  armies  and  came  pound- 
ing at  the  doors. 

The  wildest  rumors  seemed  sane.  Belgians  could  not 
write  to  the  front.  They  got  no  word  from  their  army 
and  their  loved  ones,  except  such  as  spies  and  frontier- 
runners  brought  them  and  spread  by  word  of  mouth,  or 
an  occasional  message  dropped  in  a  celluloid  tube  by  an 
Allied  aeroplane,  so  the  words  of  most  encouragement 
were  spoken  by  the  Yser  guns. 

"  Did  you  hear  the  cannon  last  night,  sir  ?  "  the  'long- 
shoremen often  asked  me  on  my  visits  of  inspection  to 
the  Commission  docks  and  warehouses.  "  The  English- 
men will  be  here  in  a  month ! "  And  every  one  turned 
to  his  work  more  joyfully. 


Only  a  common  danger  of  appalling  proportions  could 
weld  the  Belgians  into  a  nation.  Other  forces  than  local 
partiotism  fought  against  national  unity.  Belgium  had 
been  divided  to  an  extent  which  Americans  can  hardly 
credit.  "  The  coming  revolution "  was  in  all  men's 
minds  and  on  most  men's  tongue.  Before  King  Albert's 


face  the  Socialists  had  cried,  "  Hurrah  for  the  re- 
public ! "  Parliament  and  press  were  battlegrounds 
where  fundamental  political  principles  met  and  fought: 
Republicanism  against  Monarchy,  Clericalism  against 
Anti-Clericalism,  Flemings  against  French-speaking  Wal- 
loons, Socialism  against  Capitalism.  Business,  society, 
every  department  of  life,  was  divided  and  subdivided 
into  self-contained  cliques.  The  bitterness  of  the 
struggle  and  the  disunion  were  almost  unbelievable. 

And  even  in  the  midst  of  war  men  could  not  be  ex- 
pected to  lay  aside  fundamental  principles.  Only  an 
overwhelming  calamity  could  arrest  the  internal  struggle. 
Not  until  all — politicians,  populace,  clergy,  republicans, 
and  Clericals — found  themselves  confronted  with  the 
physical  problem  of  mere  existence,  could  they  forget 
their  quarrels.  Before  the  necessity  for  food  and  cloth- 
ing; before  the  naked,  elemental  needs  of  life,  even  pri- 
mary principles  went  down. 

But  the  process  was  not  complete.  Belgians  still 
feared  and  distrusted  their  fellow  Belgians.  War  exag- 
gerated certain  of  their  suspicions,  instead  of  allaying 
them.  In  theory  the  Antwerp  Relief  Committee  repre- 
sented all  classes  and  all  interests,  but  some  one  group 
had  to  be  in  control.  Monsignor  Cleynhens,  doyen  of 
the  Cathedral  of  Notre  Dame,  in  his  black  cassock  with 
purple  facings,  sat  beside  Common  Counselor  Delan- 
noy,  once  a  dock  laborer,  now  a  Socialist  leader. 
Edouard  Bunge,  merchant  prince;  Senator  Alfred  Ryk- 


mans,  lawyer,  Clerical,  conservative;  Jean  Delia  Faille, 
proprietor;  Alfred  Cools,  the  Socialist  Controller  of 
Antwerp  (Echevin  des  Finances)  ;  Francis  Dessain  of 
Malines,  Oxford  graduate,  lawyer,  and  athletic  church- 
man who  made  Rugby  football  popular  in  Belgium ;  the 
great  landed  proprietor,  young  Count  Charles  de  Merode 
de  Westerloo,  whose  ancestor  had  been  offered  the  Bel- 
gian crown  by  the  top-hatted  revolutionaries  who  freed 
the  land  from  William  Fourth  in  1830;  octogenarian 
Dr.  Victor  Desguin,  alderman  of  Antwerp, and  dean  of 
Liberal  politicians;  Walter  Blaess,  representative  of 
Lloyd's ;  Emmanuel  Montens,  member  of  the  Permanent 
Deputation  of  the  Provincial  Council;  Jakob  Smits, 
artist,  genre  painter  and  etcher,  with  the  temperament 
proper  to  his  high  calling,11 — such  men  as  these  were 
members  of  the  Committee  presided  over  by  the  Liberal 
Deputy,  Louis  Franck. 

Such  .a  machine  could  not  run  smoothly  from  the 
start.  There  was  a  period  of  necessary  readjustment  and 
even  of  revolt,  in  which  the  role  of  the  Americans  was 
to  fight  for  independence  from  political  influence  and 
for  administrative  unity. 

At  the  first  meeting  of  the  Provincial  Committee  a 
list  of  proposed  members,  whose  names  of  course  meant 
nothing  to  me,  was  submitted  and  approved.  The  first 
circular  letter  to  the  communes  contained  a  copy  of  this 

1  See  Appendix  XIV,  page  342. 


list.  The  nominees  were  notable  citizens  of  the  three 
arrondissements — Antwerp,  Turnhout,  and  Malines. 

A  week  later  four  gentlemen  from  the  arrondissement 
of  Turnhout  came  into  my  private  office  to  protest 
against  inclusion  in  the  Antwerp  provincial  organization. 
They  told  me  that  they  wished  to  deal  with  Brussels  and 
not  with  Antwerp.  They  would  be  delighted  to  deal 
with  me  personally,  or  through  the  Brussels  Committee; 
but  they  did  not  wish  to  deal  through  the  Antwerp  Com- 

At  the  second  meeting  the  trouble  came  to  a  head. 
There  was  an  exciting  moment  when  all  the  Turnhout 
delegates  were  on  their  feet  at  once,  speaking  Flemish 
instead  of  French,  as  they  usually  did  when  much  ex- 
cited, protesting  that  they  had  never  seen  the  circular  ad- 
dressed to  the  communes,  an  answer  to  which  was  re- 
quired on  the  following  day,  and  adding  that  they  were 
appealing  to  Brussels  for  complete  separation  from  Ant- 

I  protested  vigorously  against  division.  They  pa- 
tiently explained  again  that  they  would  be  delighted  to 
deal  directly  with  the  kind  Americans,  but  that  they  did 
not  wish  to  deal  with  them  through  the  Antwerp  Com- 
mittee. One  of  the  gentlemen  wept  in  the  excess  of  his 
feelings,  and  choruses  of  recriminations,  which  I  could 
not  understand,  were  exchanged  between  the  groups. 
When  had  Antwerp,  rich  and  pious  in  the  Middle  Ages 
— now  subject  to  tradesmen  and  freemasons — when  had 


it  been  generous  to  Turnhout?  Or  when  had  Turnhout, 
rustic,  old-fashioned,  and  Clerical,  trusted  the  merchants 
of  Antwerp? 

I  count  it  one  of  the  miracles  of  our  work  that  on  this 
foundation  we  built  a  solid,  durable  relief  organization. 

Turnhout  had  not  yet  received  an  ounce  of  American 
foodstuffs  and  had  not  fathomed  the  purpose  of  the 
American  Commission.  It  looked  on  us  as  an  associa- 
tion of  benevolent  grain-dealers,  selling  flour  to  a  body 
of  Antwerp  business  men,  who,  in  turn,  would  resell  it 
to  the  Turnhout  delegation,  of  course  at  a  profit  to  them- 
selves ! 

I  had  not  the  least  intention  of  permitting  a  division 
of  the  province.  But  the  difficulties  of  communication 
were  still  so  great  that  Brussels  ratified  the  secession  of 
Turnhout  before  my  reports  reached  them.  The  division 
appealed  to  them  as  logical,  since  the  agglomeration  of 
Brussels  was  treated  as  a  separate  organism  in  the  relief 
work ;  another  committee  having  been  created  for  the  re- 
mainder of  the  province  of  Brabant.  But  more  as  a 
favor  to  me  than  for  any  sounder  reason,  Brussels  con- 
sented to  reverse  this  judgment,  and  on  January  first  they 
sent  me  a  fourth  assistant,  Richard  Harvey  Simpson, 
"  Rhodester  "  like  the  rest,  especially  to  take  charge  of 
the  arrondissement  of  Turnhout. 

The  arrondissement  of  Malines  was  restive  for  much 
the  same  reasons  as  Turnhout.  The  city  of  Antwerp 
had  shipped  them  no  food  from  its  stores,  acting- 


Burgomaster  Francis  Dessain  had  borrowed  food 
from  the  German  authorities  much  as  the  Jews  "bor- 
rowed" from  the  Egyptians  before  the  crossing  of 
the  Red  Sea,  and  had  even  appropriated  a  lighter  of 
commission  grain  en  route  to  Brussels,  rather  than  see 
his  townspeople  without  bread.  Conditions  were  most 
unsatisfactory,  but  for  the  sake  of  harmony  the  Malines 
delegates  pledged  themselves  to  work  with  the  Antwerp 
organization,  and  Oliver  C.  Carmichael  was  assigned  to 
duty  as  delegate  for  the  arrondissement  committee  of 

There  was  good  reason  for  Antwerp  to  be  in  control. 
The  city  had  been  for  a  month  and  a  half  the  capital  of 
Belgium  after  the  fall  of  Brussels.  Cash,  credit,  and  food 
were  at  her  command.  She  was  the  sole  support  of  the 
poorer  communities  about  her,  especially  the  seventy- 
seven  communes  lying  inside  the  rings  of  fortifications. 
Up  to  the  time  that  I  became  delegate  for  the  fortress 
and  province,  every  bit  of  relief  which  had  been  given 
out  had  been  due  to  the  generosity  of  the  municipality 
of  Antwerp,  and  had  been  apportioned  through  its 
municipal  organizations.1 

Relief,  then,  was  a  municipal  matter  from  the  point  of 
view  of  the  Antwerp  authorities.  These  authorities 
were  party  men.  They  belonged  to  the  Liberal  or  So- 
cialist party.  No  Catholics  were  among  them.  With  a 
fine  spirit  of  patriotism  they  had  shared  with  their  neigh- 

1  See  Appendix  XV,  page  343. 


bor  communes  what  food  and  money  the  municipality 
controlled,  but  they  saw  no  reason  why  they  should  not 
claim  credit  for  their  generosity,  or  why  they  should  sur- 
render their  favored  position  at  the  center  of  supplies 
when  food  began  to  come  from  America  instead  of  the 
municipal  warehouses. 


As  American  delegate  I  was  pledged  to  a  different 
point  of  view. 

The  work  we  were  inaugurating  touched  one  million 
people  and  one  hundred  and  sixty-five  communes.  It 
required  a  meticulous  system  of  distribution  and  control, 
so  that  there  should  not  be  one  ounce  of  waste  or  mis- 
use. Business  men  with  long  experience  in  handling 
big  business  affairs  alone  could  manage  such  a  structure 
as  we  planned,  so  that  it  was  obvious  from  the  start 
that  the  Antwerp  Provincial  Relief  Committee  must  be 
divorced  from  the  Antwerp  Town  Hall  and  the  group 
of  party  men  who  had  so  ably  ministered  to  the  wants 
lying  close  at  hand. 

The  preliminaries  to  the  divorce  were  comical.  Brans- 
comb,  who  was  just  nineteen,  had  been  designated  to  act 
as  delegate  for  the  city.  Almost  his  first  duty  was  to 
remonstrate  with  the  local  committee  regarding  their 
reports.  Standing  in  the  midst  of  half  the  aldermen  and 
politicians  of  the  greatest  of  Flemish  cities,  Branscomb 
quietly  but  insistently  drawled,  "  We  cannot  and  we  will 


not  send  another  such  report  as  this  to  Brussels.  Re- 
ports must  have  our  signature  as  American  delegates. 
We  will  not  give  our  signatures  to  tardy  and  un-business- 
like  reports." 

The  Controller  of  Antwerp  whimsically  remarked  to 
one  of  his  friends,  "  I  have  been  accustomed  to  handle 
millions  of  francs  every  day,  and  now  these  young 
Americans  come  and  ask  me  what  became  of  such-and- 
such  a  bag  of  flour  last  week ! " 

None  of  us  was  out  of  his  twenties.  We  were  beard- 
less boys  in  the  assemblies  of  our  elders,  but  young  or 
old  we  were  equal  participators  in  a  thrilling  undertaking, 
and  we  intended  to  do  our  part.  Our  Belgian  co- 
workers  were  as  eager  as  we  to  have  the  work  done  ex- 
peditiously  and  well,  but  while  they  were  volunteers,  like 
ourselves,  with  temporary  powers  and  prerogatives,  they 
were  not  disinterested  aliens  but  responsible  citizens,  and 
they  dared  not  use  their  authority  as  if  it  were  per- 
manent. They  could  not  make  enemies  and  sleep  sweetly 
o'  nights  into  the  bargain,  so  we  borrowed  their  worries 
and  took  the  initiative,  even  when  it  seemed  rightly  to  be- 
long to  the  Belgians  and  when  a  count  of  noses  would 
have  given  us  a  Belgian  majority. 

In  this  as  in  other  matters  our  neutrality  was  no  nega- 
tive thing.  It  was  positive,  aggressive,  and  self-confident. 

In  an  open  meeting  of  the  Provincial  Committee  and 
with  no  previous  notice  to  the  members,  I  transferred 


the  work  of  provisioning  for  the  entire  arrondissement 
of  Antwerp  from  the  Town  Hall  to  a  suite  of  rooms  in 
the  National  Bank,  kindly  vacated  for  us  by  Mr.  Ferdi- 
nand Carlier,  the  director  of  the  bank,  and  I  designated 
a  new  delegate,  Thomas  O.  Connett,  to  serve  as  repre- 
sentative for  the  arrondissement  of  Antwerp,  with  in- 
structions to  arrange  immediately  for  a  census  of  all 
bread  and  flour  consumers  in  the  district.  The  transfer 
was  completed  in  four  days.  Such  precipitate  action  ap- 
palled some  of  our  supporters  in  the  Committee,  but 
even  at  some  cost  to  the  pride  and  prestige  of  the  local 
managers  we  were  warmly  backed,  and  those  who  first 
opposed  learned  later  to  applaud.  "  Time  has  shown 
that  you  were  right  and  that  we  were  wrong,"  was  the 
generous  summary  of  Mr.  Louis  Franck,  months  after 
our  little  revolution  was  accomplished. 

Connett  was  a  quiet,  unobtrusive  young  Cambridge 
student,  about  twenty-two  years  old.  In  three  weeks 
time,  with  the  co-operation  of  Mr.  Ferdinand  Carlier 
and  the  staff  of  bank  clerks,  he  had  card-indexed  the 
city  of  Antwerp  and  reorganized  the  system  of  control 
over  food  distributions  with  a  saving  of  about  one-fifth 
of  the  supplies. 

The  work  of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium 
and  the  National  Relief  Committee  brought  together  in 
a  community  like  Antwerp  groups  which  had  never 
known  each  other  except  as  the  most  bitter  rivals.  This 


was  often  called  to  my  attention.  It  gave  me,  as  time 
went  on  and  as  I  saw  more  deeply  into  the  situation 
than  I  could  possibly  do  at  the  'beginning,  a  chance  to 
understand  and  to  admire  the  splendid  spirit  of  prac- 
tically all  who  worked  with  us.  It  was  too  much  to  ex- 
pect men  to  give  up  at  a  stroke  the  animosities  and  con- 
flicts of  years.  Politics  was  played  under  our  very  noses. 
But,  perhaps  for  the  first  time  in  Belgium,  there  was  a 
definite  feeling  of  the  pettiness  of  politics  in  the  face  of 
national  calamity.  The  best  men  in  every  part  of  the 
province  slaved  at  the  work  of  relief.  Nearly  three 
thousand  served  on  our  communal  committees  in  Ant- 
werp, and  by  the  simple  rule  that  all  parties  and  cliques 
should  be  actively  represented,  the  Commission  and  the 
National  Relief  Committee  managed  to  bring  together 
and  to  keep  together  representatives  of  the  best  in  all. 

Thus  the  Turnhout  revolt  was  put  down  without  blood- 
shed, and  the  gentlemen  of  the  Turnhout  arrondisse- 
ment  committee  were  soon  among  the  most  loyal  of 
our  coadjutors;  the  arrondissement  of  Malines  worked 
splendidly,  under  the  leadership  of  Cardinal  Mercier  and 
Messrs.  Francis  Dessain  and  Dr.  Paul  Lamborelle;  the 
arrondissement  of  Antwerp  was  reorganized  and  gal- 
vanized into  activity,  and,  for  the  Commission,  each 
arrondissement  was  represented  by  one  or  more  Ameri- 
can delegates.1 

1  See  Appendix  XVI,  page  344,  and  Appendix  XVII,  page  345. 



Brussels  now  added  to  our  charge  a  part  of  the 
province  of  East  Flanders,  called  in  Flemish  Waes- 
land, and  in  French  le  pay  de  Waes.  It  was  an  ar- 
rondissement  lying  on  the  left  bank  of  the  Scheldt  north- 
east of  Ghent.  Seventy  years  ago  it  was  a  tract  of  sandy 
moorland;  just  before  the  war  it  was  one  of  the  most 
productive  and  most  highly  cultivated  regions  in  Bel- 
gium with  an  agricultural  population  of  more  than 
five  hundred  to  the  square  mile.  Its  capital,  Saint 
Nicolas,  had  a  population  of  more  than  thirty-five 

This  teritory,  belonging  to  the  Provincial  Committee 
at  Ghent,  was  easy  of  access  from  Antwerp,  but  was  a 
burden  to  the  American  delegates  in  Ghent,  since  their 
entire  attention  was  directed  toward  the  needy  regions 
nearer  the  fighting-lines.  I  offered  to  assume  charge 
of  the  Waesland  for  the  Provincial  Committee  of 
East  Flanders,  but  without  adding  it  to  the  administra- 
tion of  the  Belgian  Committee  of  Antwerp.  There  was 
an  excellent  mill  at  Tamise;  shipments  from  Rotterdam 
could  go  directly  to  Tamise,  and  from  there  be  forwarded 
by  light  railway  or  wagon  to  Saint  Nicolas. 

This  arrangement  our  Brussels  office  and  the  National 
Committee  ratified,  and  a  fifth  delegate  to  the  Antwerp 
staff,  W.  W.  Stratton— W.  W.  Flint  had  returned  to 
Oxford — came  to  take  charge  of  the  Waesland  work. 


Stratton  was  a  young  "  Rhodester  "  from  the  State  of 
Utah;  tirelessly  energetic  and  intelligent. 

The  Waesland  brought  with  it  peculiar  difficulties, 
since  it  lay  in  a  part  of  Belgium  outside  the  control  of 
Governor-General  von  Bissing.  It  required  special  passes 
for  travel,  special  rules  for  administration,  and  some- 
times special  supplies. 

The  Waesland  also  brought  special  thrills.  Riding  to 
Ghent  from  Antwerp  was  almost  as  exciting  as  the 
famous  ride  from  Ghent  to  Aix  which  Browning 
imagined  and  sung.  Once  it  brought  me  the  dubious 
honor  of  the  German  "  goose-step." 

I  fancy  I  am  the  only  civilian,  neutral  or  belligerent, 
for  whom  the  "  goose-step  "  has  been  done  since  the  war 
began.  It  was  a  sadly  misplaced  parade-march.  I 
was  returning  from  Ghent  to  Antwerp  in  a  closed  limou- 
sine when  an  open  automobile  full  of  German  officers 
cut  across  our  bows  at  the  outskirts  of  a  Waesland  town 
called  Lokeren.  My  automobile  had  created  a  stir  in  the 
Etap pen-Inspection,  because  it  was  the  only  car  per- 
mitted to  a  civilian,  with  the  single  exception  of  the  car 
belonging  to  the  American  Consul-General  and  Vice-Con- 
sul in  Ghent.  The  officers  stared  at  me  in  astonishment 
as  they  passed.  Their  car  then  rolled  along  about  fifty 
feet  ahead,  when  suddenly  up  the  street  appeared  a  de- 
tachment of  troops.  Far  away  I  heard  a  gruff,  "  Auf! " 
as  the  soldiers  came  face  to  face  with  the  car  full  of 
officers,  and  at  the  command  all  the  troops  began  the 


"  goose-step,"  vigorously  smacking  the  cobble-stones  as 
they  strode  past  the  car. 

Then  the  officer  in  command  of  the  detachment  caught 
sight  of  my  car.  "  A  limousine  following  a  large  car 
filled  with  officers!"  he  must  have  thought.  "The 
Kaiser  or  the  Crown  Prince,  nichtf  "  There  came  a  sec- 
ond "  AUF!  !  !"  considerably  louder  than  the  first,  and 
the  whole  company  paraded  by,  with  stiff  necks,  heads 
at  right  angles,  and  the  pavement  volleying  like  a  storm. 

In  Ghent,  as  in  Antwerp,  few  young  men  were  to  be 
seen.  Many  of  those  who  had  stayed  until  the  city  was 
occupied  by  the  Germans  had  later  fled  over  the  frontier, 
afraid  lest  they  should  be  impressed  into  the  army  and 
sent  to  fight  the  Russians.  No  part  of  the  city  had  been 
harmed ;  it  had  never  been  bombarded,  or  even  besieged, 
and  this  in  part  was  due  to  Burgomaster  Braun. 

The  Burgomaster  of  Ghent  is  the  son  of  a  German 
school-teacher,  but  a  thoroughgoing  Belgian.  When  the 
invaders  drew  near  he  marched  out  in  medieval  fashion 
to  meet  them,  and  addressed  the  German  general  at  the 
head  of  his  troops. 

"  General,"  he  said,  speaking  deliberately  in  French, 
"  I  do  not  come  to  you,  as  formerly  the  Burgomaster  of 
Ghent  came  to  the  Emperor  Charles  Fifth,  clad  only  in  a 
shirt  and  with  a  rope  about  my  neck!  No,  General,  I 
come  before  you  as  a  Belgian  patriot."  And  the  general 
spared  him  and  his  city. 


Most  of  us  have  read  many  times  in  Belgian  history 
of  citizens  compelled  to  meet  their  conquerors,  clad  only 
in  their  shirts  and  with  a  halter  about  their  necks. 
"  Only  in  their  shirts  "  sounds  immodest,  until  you  see 
and  wear  a  Belgian  shirt.  The  garment  is  especially  de- 
signed to  meet  the  needs  of  just  such  historical  occasions 
as  the  surrender  of  Ghent  to  the  Emperor  Charles.  It  has, 
even  today,  long  skirts  which  cover  everything  almost  as 
far  down  as  the  ankles,  in  spite  of  a  tentative  slit  effect 
which  crawls  perhaps  as  high  as  the  knees.  You  would 
feel  no  hesitation  at  being  presented  at  court  or  in  con- 
ducting divine  service  in  such  a  modest  dress.  Never- 
theless we  Americans  sawed  off  the  skirts  with  knives 
and  scissors,  until  the  happy  day  when  Simpson  discov- 
ered Leyendecker  shirts  and  Arrow  collars  in  a  shop 
on  the  Rempart  Kipdorp. 


By  February  first,  the  operations  of  the  Commission 
and  the  National  Relief  Committee  had  grown  enor- 
mously. Arrivals  from  Rotterdam  amounted  to  about 
eight  thousand  tons  a  month.1  If  one  figures  that  each 
province  should  have  local  supplies  for  at  least  fifteen 
days  in  stock  or  en  route,  this  means  three  thousand  to 
twenty  thousand  tons  of  merchandise,  which,  at  an  aver- 
age price  of  four  hundred  francs  a  ton,  totals  from  one 
million  to  eight  million  francs.  Thus  these  sums  were  im- 

1  See  Appendix  XVIII,  page  345. 


mobilized,  and  the  National  Committee  bore  the  expense. 
Such  a  burden  had  to  be  adjusted.  The  financial  guaran- 
tees covering  merchandise  for  the  province  of  Antwerp 
had  at  first  been  assumed  by  the  city,  but  that  was  at  the 
very  beginning  when  arrivals  were  small.  The  prov- 
inces of  Hainaut,  Luxembourg,  Liege,  Namur,  East 
Flanders,  and  Limbourg,  not  having  city  funds  available, 
had  formed  co-operative  societies  to  fund  the  work  of 
the  Provincial  Committees.  The  National  Committee 
insisted  that  Antwerp  do  the  same. 

Capital  was  desirable  from  several  points  of  view. 
Some  of  the  provinces  had  stocks  of  agricultural  prod- 
uce, such  as  potatoes,  which  were  much  needed  in  other 
parts  of  the  country.  Antwerp  possessed  certain  stores 
which  the  Germans  might  be  persuaded  to  release  to 
the  relief  committees  for  Belgian  consumption,  and  for 
these  inter-provincial  trades  capital  was  required.  The 
Committees  were  obliged,  also,  to  buy  in  the  open  market 
salt,  fuel,  and  other  things  not  imported  by  the  Commis- 
sion for  Relief  in  Belgium.1 

The  Provincial  Committee  decided  to  transform  its 
provisioning  department  into  a  co-operative  society  with 
a  minimum  capital  of  twelve  million  francs.2 

The  subscribers  to  the  new  co-operative  were  the  city 
of  Antwerp,  the  province  of  Antwerp,  and  forty-five 
banks,  commercial  houses,  or  individual  groups  of  sub- 

1  See  Appendix  XIX,  page  347. 

2  See  Appendix  XX,  page  347. 


scribers.  The  cooperative  had  for  its  principal  object 
"  the  feeding  of  the  civil  population  of  the  province  of 
Antwerp  by  purchase  and  sale  of  cereals,  of  foodstuffs, 
and  generally  of  all  things  necessary  or  useful  to  human 

"  It  has  also  for  its  purpose  the  feeding  of  the  live- 
stock of  the  province  of  Antwerp  by  the  purchase  and 
sale  of  grain,  oil-cakes,  and  other  forage,  and  generally 
of  all  things  necessary  and  useful  to  animal  life." 

And  included  in  its  charter  were  the  following  provi- 
sions : 

"  It  shall  have  a  life  of  five  years  from  the  present 
date,  but  it  may  be  dissolved  before  that  time  by  a  gen- 
eral assembly  of  a  majority  of  its  associates,  but  only 
after  the  conclusion  of  peace.  A  member  is  not  per- 
mitted to  withdraw  before  the  dissolution  of  the  co-op- 
erative. Of  the  net  profits,  after  the  constitution  of  a 
reserve,  which  the  council  shall  determine,  there  shall 
be  set  aside  an  annual  interest  of  three  per  cent  on  the 
capital  to  the  profit  of  the  associates,  and  the  balance 
.  .  .  shall  be  credited  to  the  benevolent  department  of 
the  Provincial  Relief  Committee  of  the  province  of 
Antwerp."  l 

Among  the  individual  subscribers  to  this  excellent  or- 
ganization was  Cardinal  Mercier,  whose  power  of  at- 

1  Belgian  law  requires  that  co-operative  societies  shall  have  a 
capital,  shall  pay  a  dividend,  and  shall  be  constituted  for  a  limited 
period  of  years,  not  exceeding  thirty,  with  the  power,  however, 
of  renewal. 


torney  I  held  and  whom  I  represented  in  the  articles  of 

The  executive  committee  of  the  co-operative  acted  as 
executive  committee  of  the  provisioning  department  of 
the  Provincial  Committee,  and  they  and  their  staff  of 
clerks  were  housed  in  offices  adjoining  those  of  the  Com- 
mission delegates. 

By  the  creation  of  the  co-operative  society  we  saw  our 
labors  at  provincial  headquarters  safe  on  the  highway 
to  success.  A  purely  commercial  management  replaced 
the  quasi-political  organization  of  the  earlier  days,  and 
the  commercial  department  was  definitely  separated  from 
the  Town  Hall  and  lodged  with  us  in  a  new  bank  build- 
ing at  2  Marche  aux  Grains,  finished  just  before  the  out- 
break of  the  war,  and  given  rent-free  to  the  Commission 
and  the  Provincial  Committee  by  Mr.  Edouard  Bunge. 
We  now  desired  that  the  benevolent  department  of  the 
Provincial  Committee  be  housed  with  us,  and  after  some 
negotiations,  it,  too,  was  transferred  from  the  Town  Hall 
and  placed  in  offices  adjacent  to  ours. 

The  days  of  disunion  and  divided  efforts  thus  passed 
away  from  Antwerp.  The  very  name  of  the  bank  where 
we  were  housed  was  a  good  omen  for  the  future.  It 
was  "la  banque  de  r Union  anuersoise" — The  Bank  of 
the  Union  of  Antwerp. 



The  conditions  of  war  soon  grow  to  seem  normal,  but 
there  is  an  emotional  and  physical  strain  about  them 
which  eats  at  one's  heart.  We  Americans  were  very  busy 
and  we  were  happy.  On  the  Antwerp  staff — from  time 
to  time  the  members  shifted,  some  going  back  to  Oxford 
or  to  America,  others  to  stations  in  other  parts  of  Bel- 
gium or  northern  France — were  B.  H.  Branscomb,  O.  C. 
Carmichael,  R.  H.  Simpson,  W.  W.  Flint,  W.  W.  Strat- 
ton,  T.  O.  Connett,  Gardner  Richardson,  G.  H.  Stockton, 
and  J.  B.  Van  Schaick.  Our  normal  number  was  five. 
We  lived  in  a  quiet  Antwerp  mansion,  given  us  by  our 
friend,  Mr.  Edouard  Bunge,  vice-president  of  the  Provin- 
cial Committee.  From  the  windows  we  overlooked  a 
little  park,  and  the  capped,  thoughtful  statue  of  the 
artist  Quinten  Metseys.  The  lintel  of  our  doorway  was 
gashed,  where  an  incendiary  shell,  striking  in  the  street, 
had  ricochetted  and  burst.  Until  late  in  the  spring, 
when  a  special  censorship  for  the  Commission  members 
was  arranged  with  the  Germans,  we  received  no  letters 
or  newspapers  from  any  one  outside  of  Belgium.  We 
had  no  new  books.  We  knew  little  about  the  progress  of 
the  war.  Home  was  almost  a  myth. 

We  patrolled  the  province  in  our  automobiles;  at- 
tended committee  meetings — there  were  one  hundred  and 
seventy  of  these  meetings  each  week,  so  our  range  of 
choice  was  large — ;  carried  on  extensive  correspondence 



in  four  languages ;  compiled  exhaustive  reports  on  official 
matters,  and  held  the  scales  of  justice  as  level  as  we 
could  in  a  country  which  reeled  and  slipped  in  the  bloody 
path  of  war. 

Breathing  spells  were  not  many,  and  we  sometimes 
longed  for  escape  from  Belgium  as  a  convict  longs  to 
break  prison.  At  last  Mr.  Hoover  arranged  a  series 
of  vacations  for  delegates,  because  the  men  could  not 
stay  long  in  the  work  and  remain  well  in  body  and  spirit. 

Crossing  the  border  to  Holland  was  like  a  spiritual  ex- 
perience. The  sudden  sense  of  freedom  was  as  strange 
and  real  as  mountain  air  after  a  long  stay  in  the  city,  and 
one's  heart  sang  like  a  lark,  merely  to  be  quit  of  Bel- 
gium. On  my  first  visit  to  Holland  a  crowd  of  Dutch 
children  in  a  frontier  village  screamed  at  the  motor-car 
and  flung  their  caps  under  it,  as  children  do  the  world 
over,  except  in  Belgium.  It  was  a  bitter  reminder 
of  the  repression  and  fear  in  the  little  land  behind  me; 
a  fear  and  repression  which  affected  even  the  casual 

For  we  had  visitors  in  Antwerp — journalists  and 
others — but  these  visitors  invariably  hurried  over  the 
border  at  the  first  opportunity.  We  laughed  about  it, 
but  we  understood.  Belgium  was  like  a  military  prison 
and  an  asylum  for  the  insane,  rolled  into  one.  Always, 
just  under  the  surface  of  life,  one  felt  the  tearless,  voice- 
less, tragic  resistance  of  an  unconquerable  people. 


Yet  the  camaraderie  of  the  Commission  supplied  many 
lacks.  When  we  spent  the  night  in  Brussels,  Amos  D. 
Johnson's  house  at  12  Galerie  de  Waterloo  roared  with 
our  fun  and  the  recitation  of  each  others'  Odysseys :  how 
Bowdin  and  Gaylor  refused  to  salute  the  German  colonel 
at  Longwy  and  how  the  colonel  almost  died  of  apoplexy 
in  consequence;  how  Robinson  Smith,  translator  of  Don 
Quixote,  gently  but  firmly  refused  a  gold  watch  tendered 
him  by  the  Provincial  Committee  of  Hainaut,  until  the 
Committee  had  adopted  his  scheme  of  bread  locaux  com- 
munaux;  how  Carstairs  was  soon  to  marry  a  Belgian 
girl,  and  how  other  delegates  were  suspected  of  being 
matrimonially  minded;  how  Curtis  cursed  the  German 
sentry,  never  dreaming  he  knew  English,  and  was 
answered  in  perfect  Bostonese,  "  Same  to  you,  old  fel- 
low ! " ;  how  Senor  Bulle  burst  into  inextinguishable 
laughter  at  Hugh  Gibson's  telling  of  the  soda-fountain 
joke;  how  somebody  tried  to  ram  a  Zeppelin  shed,  and 
should  have  been  shot  in  consequence;  of  Sperry's  bon 
mot,  "There  isn't  one  of  these  foreign  countries,  but 
what,  if  you  live  in  it  long  enough,  it'll '  get  your  goat '  " ; 
of  one  of  our  fellow-citizens  who  said  to  Cardinal  Mer- 
cier,  "You're  a  Catholic,  ain't  you?  ...  Well,  I'm 
a  Presbyterian  myself ;  but  I  ain't  got  no  prejudices  " ; 
of  tugs  and  lighters,  calories,  manquants,  baches,  af- 
fiches,  rations,  batelliers,  connaissements,  excedants, 
chemins  de  fer  vidnaux,  francs,  marks,  pounds  sterling, 
and  florins,  the  competence  or  incompetence  of  our 


respective  chauffeurs  and  automobiles,  and  the  greatness 
of  Hoover. 

It  was  a  time  of  joy  and  sorrow.  Isolated  and  broken- 
hearted, the  Belgians  were  starving  for  sympathy  as  well 
as  for  food.  There  was  something  almost  ritualistic 
in  the  reiteration  of  their  gratitude.  Never  once  were 
they  a  nation  of  beggars  receiving  charity;  they  were 
self-respecting  fellow-beings  receiving  merited  help 
from  friends.  There  was  no  mendicant  whine  in 
the  words,  "  You  have  saved  our  lives.  Without  you, 
what  would  have  become  of  us  and  our  poor  Belgium  ?  " 
They  translated  our  flour  and  beans  and  bacon  into 
brotherhood,  human  solidarity,  and  mutual  helpfulness. 

These  were  the  compensations.  But  the  strain  of  the 
work  endured.  I  used  to  go  to  the  magnificent  old 
Premonstratensian  Abbey  of  Tongerloo  to  try  to  for- 
get everyday  affairs.  The  avenues  of  venerable  linden 
trees,  the  gaunt  halls,  the  white-gowned  canons  and 
gray-gowned  acolytes  and  novices,  the  sanctity  and  re- 
pose of  the  place,  were  irresistibly  soothing.  But  I 
went  to  Tongerloo  really  to  see  Father  Pat — another 
name  for  Canon  Patrick  McGuire — a  wilderness  of  soft 
white  beard  with  twinkling  Irish  eyes  above  it,  nature's 
tonsure,  and  a  smile  like  a  saint's.  Nine  years  Father 
Pat  had  spent  on  a  mission  in  the  Belgian  Congo.  "  But 
you  get  nervous  there,"  he  said.  "  It's  terrible  nervous 
work,  keeping  all  the  blackies  married  to  their  own 


wives.  You  get  them  all  straightened  out,  married  off 
one  by  one,  and  then  your  boys  go  off  with  other  boys' 
wives,  and  you  have  it  all  to  do  over  again ! 

"  Now  we  are  here  and  you  are  here,  working  together 
for  Belgium.  God's  blessing  on  America  for  this  great 
work,"  he  said,  with  the  instinctive  piety  one  met  with  so 
often  in  Belgium.  "  It  would  be  a  delight  to  the  Ameri- 
cans to  go  round  the  little  villages  here  about  Tongerloo, 
and  see  every  day  how  every  child  has  his  little  bowl 
of  soup  and  a  little  bit  of  bread,  and  no  sickness,  no 
starvation — not  yet,  at  any  rate.  If  only  you  can  keep 
it  up;  if  only  you  can  work,  work,  work  until  the  war 
is  over !  A  bowl  of  soup  and  a  bit  of  bread,  and  they'll 
all  be  alive  when  King  Albert  comes  home." 

A  pleasant  feeling  of  the  transitory  nature  of  war  al- 
ways came  over  me  in  Tongerloo.  When  the  monks 
spoke  of  war  they  usually  referred  to  the  French  Revolu- 
tion, because  in  the  Revolution  their  monastery  had  been 
burned  by  the  iconoclasts  and  the  whole  order  had  been 
exiled.  In  August,  1914,  the  Belgian  Prince  de  Ligne 
was  shot  to  death  near  Tongerloo  in  an  armored  motor- 
car; Norbertian  monks  had  been  heroic  helpers  when 
the  villages  in  their  neighborhood  were  sacked  or  burned ; 
but  their  minds  lived  in  great  leaps  of  time,  in  centuries 
instead  of  years,  and  one  shared  their  immortality 
when  one  stopped  in  the  cloisters  of  Tongerloo  and 


It  would  be  too  long,  though  all  too  short  a  story, 
to  tell  of  the  hospitality  and  the  idyllic  hours  at  Hoog- 
boom,  Cappellen,  Calixberghe,  Donck,  Tongerloo,  Aver- 
bode,  Malines,  Saint  Leonarts,  Tamise,  and  Braeschat, 
and  the  friends  who  opened  their  houses  and  hearts 
to  "  the  Americans."  Work  pressed  constantly  to  be 
done.  The  war  could  hardly  be  forgotten  for  a 
moment.  The  thunder  of  the  guns  was  always  in  our 

One  night  at  Hoogboom  I  ran  out  of  the  chateau  for 
a  lonely,  happy,  night  walk.  The  cool  spring  air  was 
marvelously  clear  and  the  new  beech  leaves  were  like 
lattice-work  against  the  blue-black  sky.  Rhododendrons 
and  azaleas  were  in  blossom,  hidden  in  the  dusk  like 
tropical  birds.  The  thrilling  smells  of  turned  earth  and 
young  growing  things  were  in  my  nostrils.  A  lake  be- 
hind the  castle  lay  mirror-still,  and  I  stopped  beside 
it,  listening  to  the  guns — the  everlasting  guns. 

Seventy-five  miles  away,  along  the  Yser,  in  the  spring 
dusk,  men  were  killing  and  being  killed.  Each  ex- 
plosion could  be  heard :  a  toneless  stab  in  one's  head,  not 
like  a  sound,  but  like  a  wound;  a  thrust  that  twisted 
and  tortured  into  one's  consciousness  and  could  not  be 

But  from  across  the  lake,  from  the  depths  of  a  little 
wood  came  a  new  sound.  Cannon-thunder  was  a  com- 
monplace to  us.  If  nights  were  quiet  we  heard  it  even  in 
the  heart  of  a  city  like  Antwerp;  we  heard  it  every  Sun- 


day  in  the  country.  The  new  sound  was  a  bird  voice. 
The  first  nightingale  of  the  year  had  begun  to  sing, 
clamorous  and  violent  and  glad.  It  rioted  in  music, 
and  then  at  last  the  song  sank  gurgling  into  silence. 

And  again  came  the  remorseless  drumming  of  the 
Yser  guns. 



THE  weekly  meeting  of  the  members  of  the  National 
Relief  Committee  are  held  in  Brussels  in  a  beautiful 
parlor  belonging  to  the  Societe  Generate  de  Belgique 
pour  favoriser  I'industrie  nationale,  at  number  3  Mon- 
tagne  du  Pare — a  parlor  all  cream  and  gold,  with  an 
immense  glass  candelabrum  hanging  from  the  ceiling. 
Below  is  a  T-shaped  table  covered  with  green  baize.  The 
baize  is  old  and  gray,  and  looks  as  if  it  might  have  a 
history.  Tall,  musical  rosewood  clocks  stand  on  either 
side  of  the  wide  doors.  There  are  large  mirrors  at 
the  ends  of  the  room,  and  white  marble  busts  of  King 
Albert  and  Queen  Elizabeth  coolly  watch  the  proceed- 
ings. On  the  walls  hang  paintings  of  the  two  former 
Belgian  kings:  Leopold  First  in  coronation  dress;  old 
Leopold  Second  in  general's  uniform  with  a  double  tier 
of  orders  showing  under  his  white  beard. 

There  is  a  suggestion  of  the  French  Revolutionary 
period  about  the  room.  It  is  decorated  in  the  style 
of  the  Empire,  but  one  feels  that  avatars  of  sans- 



culottes  may  lurk  behind  the  upholstered  chairs,  and 
that  one  breathes  an  atmosphere  of  conspiracy  and  sub- 
terranean activity. 

The  members  gather  every  Thursday.  They  are  the 
notable  citizens  of  Belgium.  With  one  or  two  excep- 
tions there  are  no  young  men,  and  graybeards  and  bald 
pates  are  greatly  in  the  majority. 

The  meetings  bring  together  a  strange  mixture  of 
classes  and  physiognomies.  Grouped  about  the  long 
green  table  are  Paul  van  Hoegaerden,  the  vigorous, 
vociferous  president  of  the  Liege  Provincial  Committee, 
with  a  trick  of  pulling  at  his  collar  as  if  its  tightness  im- 
peded the  flow  of  his  harsh,  metallic  words ;  his  able  son 
Jacques,  secretary  of  the  Liege  Committee,  one  of  the 
few  younger  men  in  the  National  Committee ;  statuesque 
Baron  Albert  d'Huart,  president  of  the  Namur  Com- 
mittee; Fulgence  Masson,  vice-president  of  the  Hainaut 
Committee,  wise  in  counsel,  quick  in  action,  his  round 
face  humorous  as  a  clown's;  Louis  Franck,  president  of 
the  Antwerp  Committee,  like  an  etching  by  Felicien  Rops, 
with  black  Assyrian  beard  and  sparse  hair,  piercing  eye 
and  clean  profile,  always  smiling  his  enigmatic,  optimistic 
smile ;  attenuated  Count  Jean  de  Merode,  Grand  Marshal 
of  King  Albert's  Court,  vice-president  of  the  Provincial 
Committee  of  Brabant;  gigantic  Constant  Heynderyckx, 
alderman  of  Ghent;  small,  pliant  Jean  de  Hemptinne, 
also  of  Ghent;  Georges  Eeckhout,  professor  at  Ghent 
University;  the  dark,  foreign,  languid  figure  of  Raoul 


Warocque,  Burgomaster  of  Morlanwelz,  who  lives  at 
Mariemont  with  kangaroos  and  Buddhas;  Emmanuel 
Janssen,  head  of  the  benevolent  department  for  the 
whole  country,  gently  smiling  on  all;  modest  Louis 
Solvay;  the  Michel  Angelo  profile  of  Michel  Levie, 
president  of  the  light  railways  of  Belgium  (la  Societe 
Nationale  des  Chemins  de  fer  vicinaux) ;  Senator  Em- 
manuel Tibbaut,  head  of  the  agricultural  department; 
quiet,  efficient  Chevalier  de  Wouters  d'Oplinter;  and 
executive  secretary  F.  van  Bree,  swarthy  as  the  pirate 
Black  Beard.1 

Then  there  enters  the  crowded  room  the  burly  headed, 
heavy-set  chairman  of  the  Committee,  Mr.  Emile 
Francqui.  He  seats  himself,  raps  on  the  table  for 
quiet,  and  without  waiting  for  it,  begins  to  chant  the  order 
of  the  day,  his  heavy  Bismarckian  head  sunk  forward, 
his  voice  running  like  a  millrace. 

"What  time  is  it?"  a  Belgian  friend  asked  Mr. 
Francqui  near  the  end  of  an  important  business  con- 

"  Half-past  three." 

"  Francqui,  let  me  see  your  watch ! "  .  .  . 

"  I  knew,"  the  friend  explained,  laughing,  "  that  if 
Francqui  were  getting  the  better  of  me  he  would  want 
to  continue  the  discussion,  so  he  would  put  the  time 
about  a  quarter  of  an  hour  ahead.  If  he  thought  I  was 

1  See  Apendix  XXI,  page  348. 


getting  the  better  of  him,  he  would  have  told  me  it  was 
half  an  hour  later.  So  I  asked  to  see  his  watch."  .  .  . 

Mr.  Francqui  is  a  type  familiar  to  Americans:  a 
big-business  man  in  the  prime  of  life,  self-made,  brusque, 
bourgeois,  sometimes  intolerably  rude,  but  always  effi- 
cient, and  the  man  of  the  hour  in  Belgian  financial  affairs. 
He  resembles  an  American  trust  magnate,  with  more  than 
a  spice  of  Gallic  salt  in  his  composition.  He  has  no  small 
ambitions,  no  cheap  ideas  of  glory,  and  no  sentimentality 
or  cant.  As  director  of  the  Societe  Generate  de  Belgique 
— a  great  banking  institution,  founded  in  1822  with  an 
original  capital  of  fifty  million  francs — he  is  one  of  the 
foremost  financial  figures  in  Belgium,  and  his  share  in 
the  inauguration  of  the  work  of  the  Commission  and  the 
National  Relief  Committee  has  placed  in  his  hands  the 
intricate  operations  of  financing  the  Belgian  committees. 
In  the  composition  of  the  great  financial  groups  which 
are  the  backbone  of  the  National  Committee,  are  Mr. 
Jean  Jadot,  governor  of  the  Societe  Generate,  vice-presi- 
dent of  the  National  Committee,  Mr.  L.  van  der  Rest, 
vice-governor  of  the  National  Bank  of  Belgium  and  vice- 
president  of  the  Committee,  and  Mr.  Ernest  Solvay, 
president  of  the  famous  Solvay  Process  Company  and 
president  of  the  Committee;  but  to  Mr.  Francqui  has 
been  left  the  active  charge  of  the  work  of  erecting  a 
financial  substructure  for  the  whole  organization  of 

Great  financiers  are  usually  dictators,  and  Mr.  Franc- 

HARD  CASH  273 

qui  is  no  exception  to  the  rule.  But  the  situation  seems 
to  call  for  a  dictator.  The  weekly  meetings  of  the  Na- 
tional Committee  are  stage-plays  purely.  No  Germans 
are  present,  but  the  sense  of  oppression  is  always  there, 
and  to  break  it  the  assembly  seems  to  take  on  an  attitude 
of  mock-seriousness  and  to  shoulder  its  deliberations 

So  Mr.  Francqui  does  his  real  work  alone.  The  order 
of  the  day  which  he  reads  at  each  meeting  so  swiftly 
and  so  humorously,  consists  of  information  from  the 
Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium,  instructions  to  the 
Provincial  Committees,  notifications  of  rules  imposed 
through  the  Minister-patrons  by  the  German  authorities, 
arrivals  in  Rotterdam  and  shipments  en  route  to  the 
provinces,  subsidies  allowed  to  the  various  charitable  de- 
partments of  the  committees,  a  financial  statement  for 
the  week,  and  a  report  and  instructions  from  the  agri- 
cultural department.  But  the  real  work  goes  on  behind 
the  scenes,  and  the  committeemen  are  not  sorry  to  have 
it  so. 


Belgian  finance  presents  complex  problems.  A  mora- 
torium was  declared  at  the  start  of  the  war.  The 
value  of  notes  held  by  the  National  Bank  and  affected 
by  the  moratorium  reached  one  thousand  million  francs. 
As  late  as  April  first,  1915,  only  about  one-fourth  of  this 
sum,  or  two  hundred  and  fifty  million  francs,  ha'd  been 


paid,  and  these  by  the  more  solvent  or  less  affected 
debtors,  among  whom  were  many  Belgian  banks. 

On  top  of  all  this  internal  insolvency,  the  Germans  on 
December  tenth  levied  on  Belgium  a  contribution  of  war 
of  forty  million  francs  per  month.1 

At  the  outbreak  of  the  war  Belgian  currency  had  al- 
most disappeared.  Many  communes  were  so  harassed 
that  they  issued  emergency  currency  of  their  own,  good 
only  in  the  communal  limits.  At  least  seventy  per  cent 
of  the  important  towns  and  villages  of  Belgium  and 
northern  France  were  forced  to  this  expedient,  and 
struck  off  on  the  municipal  printing-presses  "  shin-plas- 
ter" bills  for  one  franc,  fifty  centimes,  twenty-five 
centimes,  or  ten  centimes;  and  at  least  one  of  them,  the 
commune  of  Saint  Nicolas  in  East  Flanders,  struck  a 
paper  bill  for  five  centimes — about  one  cent  in  American 
money.  These  bills  had  nothing  but  the  credit  of  the 
municipality  to  back  them,  and  had  no  value  outside  of 
the  commune  issuing  them.  Three  months  after  the  end 
of  the  war,  or  on  January  first,  1915,  they  were  pay- 
able at  the  municipal  till.  Of  course  they  were  valuable 
only  for  small  retail  trade. 

Such  currency  as  reappeared  after  recovery  from  the 
first  shock  of  terror  at  the  beginning  of  the  war,  disap- 
peared again  as  the  Germans  overran  Belgium.  Silver 
and  small  nickel  coins,  along  with  the  paper  issued  by 
the  National  Bank,  were  hidden  away  in  safe  places; 

1  See  Appendix  XXII,  page  349. 

HARD  CASH  275 

gold  had  been  sent  for  safe  keeping  into  Holland  or 
England;  and  the  National  Bank  of  Belgium  was  thus 
in  no  position  to  carry  on  its  normal  function  of  regulat- 
ing the  currency  of  the  country,  even  if  the  Germans  had 
been  willing  to  allow  it  to  do  so.  As  it  was,  the  military 
authorities  took  from  the  bank  its  privilege  of  issuing 
paper  money,  but  in  other  respects  interfered  with  the 
National  Bank  no  more  than  with  private  institutions. 

Meanwhile  German  paper  and  nickel  coins — five  mark, 
two  mark,  one  mark  bills,  and  pfennigs — began  to  circu- 
late in  Belgium,  and  the  tradespeople  were  compelled  by 
military  proclamations  to  accept  the  money  of  the  in- 
vaders at  a  fixed  ratio  to  the  Belgian  franc. 

To  meet  the  extraordinary  situation  of  the  national 
currency,  the  Societe  Generate  in  March,  1915,  six 
months  after  the  outbreak  of  war,  and  with  the  sanction 
of  the  German  authorities,  resorted  to  what  is  probably 
an  unparalleled  financial  device.  It  issued  a  paper  cur- 
rency, backed  solely  by  its  private  credit  and  the  credit 
of  its  associated  banks,  redeemable  three  months  after 
peace  is  signed  by  an  equivalent  bill  of  the  Belgian  Na- 
tional Bank;  and  this  extraordinary  currency  was  suc- 
cessfully circulated  and  bears  a  definite  exchange  ratio 
to  the  German  mark  and  the  Belgian  franc  formerly 
issued  by  the  National  Bank.1 

1  To  understand  the  situation  one  may  imagine  the  United 
States  of  America  blockaded  on  both  oceans,  with  a  Mexican  army 
in  charge  of  our  financial  affairs.  In  such  a  case,  since  the  invaders 


The  earlier  bills  of  the  Societe  Generate,  issued  in 
March,  1915,  bore  the  portrait  of  Queen  Caroline,  the 
wife  of  Leopold  First.  Later  issues  of  bills  bore  the  head 
of  Rubens,  and  it  was  commonly  believed  in  Belgium  that 
this  was  because  the  Germans  objected  to  the  picture  of 
a  Belgian  queen,  even  if  that  queen  had  been  dead  for 
half  a  century. 

With  these  financial  steps  the  National  Relief  Com- 
mittee had  nothing  to  do,  but  the  steps  themselves  were 
very  important  in  the  relief  work.  In  addition  to  the 
normal  banking  facilities,  a  considerable  number  of  spe- 
cial "  loan  banks  "  had  been  organized  at  the  outbreak 
of  war.  These  banks  now  began  making  chattel  loans, 
lending  small  sums,  payable  in  the  currency  of  the  Societe 
Generale,  on  the  security  of  personal  property.  At  the 
same  time,  through  the  operations  of  the  charitable  de- 
partment of  the  Belgian  National  Committee,  the  flow 
of  currency  was  aided  by  the  payment  of  unemployment 
benefits,  old  age  pensions,  and  wages  for  work  provided 
by  municipalities. 

Large  sums  were  borrowed  from  the  Societe  Generate 
by  the  nine  provinces,  the  loans  being  secured  by  notes 
backed  by  the  credit  of  the  province,  as  well  as  by  the 
credit  of  the  wealthier  citizens.  A  singular  commentary 

could  not  provide  a  currency  for  us,  the  Standard  Oil  Company  or 
some  other  big  institution  might  take  over  the  issuance  of  bills  and 
coin,  pledging  for  their  redemption  its  own  financial  credit. 

HARD  CASH  277 

on  the  whole  extraordinary  situation  is  found  in  the  fact 
that  part,  at  least,  of  the  eight  million  dollars  a  month 
which  Germany  has  exacted  from  Belgium  as  a  war 
contribution  has  been  paid  in  the  currency  of  the  Societe 

1  See  Appendix  XXIII,  page  349. 


VAN  /\        t  .  /.  t. 

ANTWERPEN  Otcfci*^        f* 

I  A  BIN  ET 





fc;     ^ou.    O 
(RsJUeJ?  i*svytcn<.Cf*t 
Ut    Mot^t    &i^n    CUpCU^Uy     OUrt-    jz£Jbw.Cy?   Oj 

fi'cfvUfa&e     hi»c*K&>    Hue.  iUt-tJeJ 

f~Cl*  k.      (ff 

&&    &f  ioi^»    *«*P 

JULY  4,  1915. 

A  Letter  from  Louis  Franck  Proposing  to   Make  July  Fourth  a 
Belgian  National  Holiday. 

Oi  CL 

Lo      w       c<rmc 

&*  -  a 

1-0  you.    oud  MtcU.    fo 



C/ . 


J  V&cJt/L  BJL  /haakf*U.    lu  ^  ou.  to  CowJUf    *(«• 

crwcwfo    yeu*.  cou*drui  J  /£*. 

to  /ho4  tt&xpu*caJLf<Me  f  ^CuJVUHto  ^ifUcyvt^en^   frl 
fo   fa~Ot&>8     f  lo&jm*.   i**.    &£& 



ALTHOUGH  the  Americans  in  Belgium  perform  a 
variety  of  functions,  they  are  there  primarily  for  two 
purposes:  to  see  that  the  Germans  strictly  observe  the 
guarantee  against  requisitioning  food  supplies,  and  to  see 
that  every  Belgian  man,  woman,  and  child  receives  his 
daily  bread.1 

Every  Belgian  more  than  two  years  old  is  entitled  to 
two  hundred  and  fifty  grams  of  bread  per  day,  and  it 
is  the  business  of  the  Commission  to  see  that  he  gets  it. 

This  ration,  which,  I  believe,  is  considered  by  experts 
to  be  extraordinarily  low,  was  established  at  the  beginning 
of  our  work  by  Dr.  Hindhede,  then  at  the  Solvay  So- 
ciological Institute  in  Brussels,  and  Horace  Fletcher, 

1  During  my  year's  service  in  Antwerp  there  was  only  one 
case  in  which  German  soldiers  violated  the  guarantee's  of  pro- 
tection granted  to  Commission  food. 

Two  soldiers  stopped  a  Belgian  bread-cart  and  demanded 
bread.  The  delivery-boy  stoutly  refused.  The  soldiers  then  set 
upon  him,  grabbed  two  loaves  out  of  the  cart,  threw  at  the  boy 
the  money  for  them,  and  set  off  at  a  run. 

Mr.  Brand  Whitlock  writes :  "  I  am  glad  to  be  able  to  say 
that  there  is  not  a  single  instance  in  which  a  pound  of  food  sent 
under  our  guarantee  has  been  touched  by  the  German  authorities." 



the  American  food  expert  and  father  of  the  verb  "  to 

Of  the  members  of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Bel- 
gium Mr.  Fletcher  was  dean,  and  he  was  one  of  our 
most  loyal,  most  enthusiastic,  and  most  inventive  work- 
ers. He  looked  like  an  angelic  boy,  masquerading  with 
white  wool  for  hair  and  eyebrows.  War  found  him 
studying  at  the  Solvay  Sociological  Institute,  but  he  vol- 
unteered at  once  to  help  in  the  relief  work,  and  his  tasks 
have  been  varied  and  important.  For  a  while  he  was 
"  official  taster,"  and  it  is  a  tradition  amongst  us  that  he 
half  poisoned  himself,  "  trying  out "  gift  goods  sent  into 
Belgium  by  kind  America!  He  prepared  a  concise  and 
interesting  pamphlet  on  food  values,  containing  delicious 
recipes  for  preparing  American  products  till  then  un- 
known to  the  Belgians :  "  Susie's  Spider  Corn  Cake,'* 
Bouillie  de  Mais  Frites,  ou  Hominy  Frit,  Petit  Pains 
Berkshire  Muffins,  and  Petit  Pains  de  Farine  de 
Mais  Indien  d'Amerique,  were  some  of  the  products  of 
his  skill.  This  pamphlet,  in  French  and  Flemish,  was 
spread  broadcast,  so  that  the  American  delegates  and 
Belgian  committeemen  spoke  of  "  calories "  with  the 
same  easy  familiarity  that  they  had  acquired  with  "  bills 
of  lading,"  "  excesses,"  and  "  under-weights." 

At  first  some  of  our  imports  of  high  nutritive  value 
were  almost  useless  to  the  Belgians.  I  do  not  refer  to 
delicacies  such  as  sweet  potatoes,  maple  syrup,  and  real 


Southern  hominy,  but  such  standard  products  as  corn- 
meal  and  oatmeal.  Large  quantities  of  both  had  been 
given  by  generous  Canadians  and  Americans.  The 
State  of  Iowa  contributed  a  ship-load  of  corn.  But 
very  few  Belgians  knew  how  to  cook  our  national  foods; 
the  Flemish  peasants  wished  to  use  some  of  the  choicest 
of  them  as  feed  for  chickens,  so  we  had  hastily  to  or- 
ganize committees  to  begin  a  propaganda.  Teachers 
of  domestic  science  from  the  city  of  Antwerp  went 
through  the  villages,  lecturing  before  the  peasants  and 
showing  them  how  corn-meal  should  be  cooked.  The 
prejudice  against  maize  products  as  human  food  was 
so  strong,  however,  that  our  wares  had  to  be  rechristened, 
and  thus  our  good  old-fashioned  American  corn-meal 
and  hominy  were  baptized  "  cerealine  "  and  "  idealine," 
and  other  alien  and  presumably  appetizing  names. 

By  Belgian  rules  of  bread-making  one  hundred  and 
ninety  grams  of  flour  will  make  two  hundred  and  fifty 
grams  of  bread.  In  February,  1915,  the  ration  was 
raised  to  two  hundred  and  fifty  grams  of  flour — about 
three  hundred  and  twenty-five  grams  of  bread — and 
maintained  on  that  basis  except  when  failing  supplies 
cut  the  proportions. 

Such  a  simple-looking  mathematical  rule  for  rationing 
would  seem  to  need  no  qualification,  but  only  those  who 
have  attempted  to  administer  with  the  wisdom  of  Solo- 
mon a  trust  like  ours  can  understand  the  difficulties  which 


arose.  There  were  probably  many  peasants  in  the  Cam- 
pine  who  had  small  stores  of  rye  flour  which  they  could 
mix  with  the  American  wheat  flour,  whereas  the  unem- 
ployed workmen  of  the  towns  and  cities  had  no  re- 
sources of  any  sort.  Should  we,  then,  discriminate 
against  the  peasants?  .  .  .  The  diet  of  bread  for  those 
confined  in  prisons,  hospitals,  penal  colonies,  and  asylums 
is  normally  very  large.  Should  we  cut  these  rations  to 
our  rule?  .  .  .  What  about  growing  children  in  or- 
phanages? .  .  .  What  about  patients  in  hospitals,  or 
those  being  cared  for  at  home?  .  .  .  Should  all  these 
exceptional  classes  of  persons  be  fed  on  gray  war  bread, 
and  should  they  receive  only  two  hundred  and  fifty  grams 
per  day,  like  everybody  else? 

A  most  picturesque  plea  came  from  a  quarter  where 
Americans  would  never  expect  it.  We  were  urged  to 
provide  dog-bread!  The  Belgian  dog — le  Men  de  trait 
— is  a  proletarian,  not  a  parlor  ornament,  and  is  worthy 
of  his  hire.  Meat  is  always  costly,  so  he  is  practically  a 
vegetarian,  and  his  diet  must  be  carefully  looked  after. 
Bread  is  his  staple  food.  .  .  .  Dogs  are  absolutely  neces- 
sary to  the  peasants,  and  strange  as  the  request  seemed 
at  first,  we  finally,  after  careful  study,  decided  to  provide 
a  cheap  bread  for  them. 

Perhaps  the  most  striking  plea  for  exceptional  treat- 
ment was  made  by  the  director  of  a  large  Belgian 
asylum.  He  assured  us  that  the  health  and  morale  of  his 
institution  depended  upon  an  unusually  large  ration  of 


bread,  because,  if  the  diet  of  the  insane  were  restricted, 
uproars  and  disorders  would  begin. 

With  the  approval  of  the  Brussels  office  we  ruled 
that  the  ration  of  bread  must  stand  uniform  throughout 
the  province,  but  that  if  in  specific  cases  bread  could 
be  proved  a  medicine,  then,  on  a  doctor's  certificate,  we 
would  allow  a  larger  portion. 

At  one  time  we  received  complaints  about  the  quality 
of  bread  served  in  a  city  prison,  and  W.  W.  Strat- 
ton  went  down  to  investigate.  The  manager  of  the 
prison  flatly  contradicted  all  unfavorable  reports,  and  ex- 
plained to  Stratton,  with  a  wealth  of  detail,  how  fine 
the  bread  really  was. 

"  How  much  bread  do  you  give  your  prisoners  now, 
Monsieur  le  Directeur?"  asked  Stratton. 

"  How  much  now  ? — the  same  as  always.  And  such 
good  bread,  monsieur !  " 

"  Tiens!  And  is  the  quality  of  the  bread  the  same  as 

"  But  yes,  monsieur." 

"Oh,  la,  la,  la,  la!  Monsieur  le  Directeur,  then  it 
is  bad,  very  bad,  most  bad ;  it  cannot  be  worse.  It  cannot 
be  eaten,  or  digested !  "  Stratton  shrugged  his  shoulders 
despairingly,  as  if  there  were  no  more  words  to  express 
the  iniquity  of  the  prison  bread. 

"  But,  monsieur !  "  screamed  the  unfortunate  manager. 
"  How  can  you  know  that  ?  " 

"  How  can  I  know,  monsieur?    Attend!    I  have  been 


your  guest.  In  December  I  was  a  prisoner  in  this  very 
prison ! " 


"  I !  The  Germans  did  not  like  me,  maybe.  I  had 
just  come  into  Belgium.  They  arrested  me;  they  gave 
me  to  you;  you  placed  me  in  one  of  your  choicest 
cells,  n'est-ce  pas?  I  spent  a  day  under  your  hospitable 
roof.  But  you  have  forgotten,  monsieur  ?  Comme  c'est 
triste;  c'est  triste,  n'est-ce  pas?  "  .  .  . 

There  was  a  very  rapid  improvement  in  the  quality  of 
the  prison  fare. 

The  supply  of  white  flour  was  strictly  limited,  so  the 
Commission  imported  wheat  and  milled  it  in  Belgium. 
This  wheat,  whether  from  North  or  South  America,  was 
milled  at  ninety  per  cent ;  in  other  words,  it  contained  all 
the  bran  except  ten  per  cent.  Such  milling  was  a  measure 
of  economy,  for  only  the  greatest  care  enabled  us  to  give 
the  necessary  ration  of  two  hundred  and  fifty  grams  of 
bread,  and  in  many  of  the  provinces  ten  per  cent  or  fif- 
teen per  cent  of  corn-meal  was  added  to  the  gray  flour, 
reducing  the  cost  by  about  ten  francs  per  hundred  kilo- 
grams, and  enabling  the  committees  to  maintain  the  price 
of  bread  at  a  minimum.  Mills  existed  in  each  of  the  prov- 
inces. Ten  were  employed  in  the  province  of  Antwerp 
alone.  These  were  all  under  the  management  of  the  Com- 
mission delegates  and  the  Belgian  committees,  and  were 
required  by  the  terms  of  their  contracts  to  return 'to  the 


committees  every  product  and  by-product  of  the  milling 
operations.  The  mills  were  also  considered  Commission 
warehouses,  under  the  protection  of  the  American  flag, 
and  deliveries  to  the  communes  were  made  direct  from 

Thanks  to  our  regulations,  the  price  of  bread,  white  or 
gray,  was  always  lower  in  Belgium  than  in  London, 
Paris,  Rotterdam,  or  New  York.1 


Whenever  we  dealt  directly  with  the  Belgian  people 
all  went  well;  when  we  dealt  with  middlemen  there  was 
apt  to  be  trouble.  This  was  particularly  true  in  the  dis- 
tribution of  flour.  In  the  country  districts  and  smaller 
towns  where  the  people  did  their  own  baking,  we  dis- 
tributed flour  directly  to  the  consumers:  in  cities,  on 
the  other  hand,  we  delivered  flour  to  the  bakers,  who 
then  supplied  their  customers  with  Commission  bread.2 

There  is  a  Bible  story  which  I  now  read  with  satisfac- 
tion unknown  to  me  before  my  stay  in  Belgium.  It 

When  the  chief  baker  saw  that  the  interpretation  was 
good,  he  said  unto  Joseph,  I  also  was  in  my  dream,  and 
behold,  I  had  three  white  baskets  on  my  head: 

And  in  the  uppermost  basket  there  was  of  all  manner  of 

1  See  Appendix  XXIV,  page  351. 
'See  Appendix  XXV,  page  352. 


bake-meats  for  Pharaoh ;  and  the  birds  did  eat  them  out  of 
the  basket  upon  my  head. 

And  Joseph  answered  and  said,  This  is  the  interpreta- 
tion thereof :  The  three  baskets  are  three  days : 

Yet  within  three  days  shall  Pharaoh  lift  up  thy  head 
from  off  thee,  and  shall  hang  thee  on  a  tree ;  and  the  birds 
shall  eat  thy  flesh  from  off  thee. 

And  it  came  to  pass  the  third  day,  which  was  Pharaoh's 
birthday,  that  he  made  a  feast  unto  all  his  servants  .  .  . 

But  he  hanged  the  chief  baker :  as  Joseph  had  interpreted 
to  them. 

At  one  time  we  needed  a  despot  like  Pharaoh  to  deal 
with  the  Antwerp  bakers,  although  as  a  rule  we  were 
not  gentle  toward  offenders.  In  the  case  in  question, 
however,  the  offenders  were  all  the  bakers  of  Antwerp, 
and  retaliatory  measures  were  crushed  by  sheer  weight 
of  their  numbers. 

To  insure  honest  bread  at  honest  weight  and  an  honest 
per  capita  distribution,  the  Commission  began  to  card- 
index  all  consumers  in  Belgium.  Theretofore  in  Ant- 
werp proper  we  had  estimated  requirements  on  the  basis 
of  what  we  knew  to  be  the  whole  population  of  the  city. 
Dividing  that  population  among  the  big  and  little  baker- 
ies, we  had  a  rough-and-ready  method  for  distribution, 
and  we  closely  followed  up  complaints  from  the  ultimate 

Card-indexing  is  slow  but  sure.  Before  the  end  of  the 
investigations  I  called  for  a  progress  report. 

"Twelve  bakers*  lists  are  complete  out  of  one  hun- 


dred  and  eighty-five  bakeries  and  forty-six  pastry 

"What  do  they  show?" 

"  Every  one  of  them  is  fraudulent.  They've  padded 
their  lists  of  customers — given  names  of  refugees  who 
are  in  Holland  or  England,  or  purely  fictitious  names. 
And  we've  been  furnishing  them  with  flour  for  three 
weeks  on  a  basis  of  lies !  It  makes  me  sick." 

"  What  do  you  want  to  do  ?    Fine  them  ?  " 

"  We've  done  it :  that  is,  I've  insisted  on  fining  the 
biggest  baker  in  the  lot,  but  the  Belgian  committeemen 

"Why  do  they  object?" 

"  They  say  all  the  hundred  and  eighty-five  lists  are 
padded,  and  they  think  it's  too  hard  on  that  one  to  fine 
him  alone ! " 

In  times  of  discouragement  like  these  our  only  com- 
fort was  the  positive  knowledge  that  in  spite  of  petty 
fraud,  every  Belgian  was  being  fed,  and  second,  that 
Provincial  Committeeman  J.  G.  Delannoy  would  person- 
ally assault  the  baker  who  had  offended. 

In  a  long  ministerial  frock  coat  and  tall  collar,  buzz- 
ing through  his  teeth  the  tune  of  the  Socialist  Interna- 
tionale, Mr.  Delannoy  would  burst  into  the  Commission 
offices,  roaring  greetings  right  and  left,  smacking  the 
desks  with  his  great  hands,  conquering  ears  and  hearts 
by  his  onslaught,  and  speaking  an  extraordinary  mixture 


of  English,  French,  and  Flemish — a  strong,  meaty  pot- 
pourri of  languages. 

He  was  one  of  the  most  valued  members  of  the 
Provincial  Committee,  respected  and  admired,  even  by 
his  political  enemies;  a  man  of  little  fear  and  no  favor, 
with  a  penchant  for  strong-arm  methods. 

"  Look  here,  Mr.  Delannoy !  Stop  that  kolome- 
Vendome-verdoeme  anecdote  a  moment  and  listen  to 
this.  We're  going  to  fine  Ixe  for  fraud." 

"  Mynheer  'Unt,  I  will  explicate.  It  is  the  charAKter 
of  the  Flemish  pupils  (people)  to  make  fraudeur 

"  Let's  not  discuss  Flemish  character." 

"  No,  no,  no,  no,  no,  no,  no,  no !  Listen.  I,  Delannoy, 
moi,  je,  ik,  I  have  make  fraud — not  now,  nr>! — but  in 
peace.  I  make  fraud  by  the  Garde  Civique — Civil 
Guard — militia !  You  know  what  is  the  Garde  Civique?  " 

"  Yes.     It  is  like  our  National  Guard." 

"  Eh  bien!    I  desert,  I  skip  drill,  I  make  fraud." 

"  The  deuce !  You're  one  of  the  *  straightest '  men  I 
ever  met." 

"  But  no.  I  make  fraud  by  the  Garde  Civique.  It  is 
the  charAKter  of  the  pupils.  Like  you  Americans;  you 
pay  not  the  customs  moneys  in  New  York;  isn't  it?  " 

A  long  silence ! 

"  It  is  the  charAKter  of  the  Flemish  pupils ;  always 
they  make  fraudeur.  But,  Mynheer  'Unt,  I  will  see 
Ixe ;  n'est-ce  pas?  " 


"  Deal  gently  with  him,  for  Heaven's  sake.  Don't 
massacre  him.  We  don't  love  him,  but  we  don't  want 
him  killed." 

"  I  will  kick  him  down  the  stair." 

The  splendid  gifts  of  white  flour  from  America  were 
reserved  for  hospitals  and  asylums,  but  enough  remained 
for  us  to  give  the  whole  province  an  occasional  week 
of  white  flour,  to  break  the  monotony  of  the  gray. 
These  occasions  were  dubbed  "  joyous  entries  "  by  Mr. 

"  They  eat  always  with  the  eyes,  the  Flemish  pupils, 
Mynheer  'Unt.  Us  mangent  ton  jours  avec  les  yeux; 
vous  comprenez?  You  know  what  is  to  '  eat  with  the 
eyes '  ?  The  Flemish  pupils  look,  look  first.  Then  they 
eat.  La  farine  grise,  it  is  joost  so  good  as  the  white 
flour;  mais,  c'est  gris;  ce  n'est  pas  blanc.  En  fin! 
The  Flemish  pupils  make  always  kermis — picnic,  good 
time — for  de  witte  bloem — white  flour.  C'est  une 
' joyeuse  entree'  n'est  ce  pas,  Monsieur  'Unt?  You 
know  what  is  a  'joyeuse  entree'?  I  will  explicate." 
And  with  gusts  of  laughter  he  explained  the  tre- 
mendous welcome  which  always  greeted  the  first  offi- 
cial visit  of  a  sovereign  monarch  to  medieval  Ant- 
werp; called,  by  the  old  chroniclers,  the  "joyous 

"  It  is  the  '  joyeuse  entree '  of  Emperoor  White-Bread, 
n'est-ce  pas,  Monsieur  'Unt?" 


Not  the  character  of  the  Flemish,  but  war-time  condi- 
tions were  at  fault.  The  Commission  had  established  a 
partial  monopoly  of  flour,  without  at  the  same  time 
establishing  a  monopoly  of  baking.  The  bakers  were  in 
keen  competition  with  each  other,  under  conditions  of 
terrible  strain.  Many  of  them  were  delivering  bread  to 
clients  who  could  no  longer  pay,  and  the  Commission  all 
the  while  was  paring  off  the  profit  on  bread-making  to 
keep  the  price  as  low  as  possible  for  the  ultimate  con- 
sumers. At  the  same  time  the  Dutch  were  smuggling 
flour  and  bread  over  the  Belgian  border,  and,  although  its 
operations  were  not  great,  there  was  a  legitimate  com- 
mittee (le  comite  limitrophe),  formed  under  the  patron- 
age of  Queen  Wilhelmina  of  Holland  and  the  chairman- 
ship of  a  Dutch  member  of  Parliament,  to  restore  petty 
commerce  between  the  Dutch  and  Belgian  border  com- 

On  recommendation  of  the  chairman  of  the  committee, 
a  Mr.  Fleskens,  the  Dutch  Minister  of  Commerce  and 
Labor  issued  permits  of  exportation  to  proper  persons. 
The  committee  made  no  profits  for  itself,  but  the  trans- 
action was  wholly  commercial,  since  no  attention  was 
paid  to  the  needs  of  the  destitute  in  Belgium.  The  most 
important  article  in  this  petty  commerce  was  white  bread 
baked  in  Holland  and  sent  into  Belgium  for  immediate 
consumption.  There  was  nothing  to  prevent  the  Ger- 
mans seizing  such  bread  if  they  liked.  The  complica- 


tions  arising  from  such  transactions  in  the  midst  of  a 
work  like  ours  are  obvious. 

Commerce  with  Holland  was  not  an  easy  thing.  Few 
could  run  the  border  without  collusion  with  the  German 
sentries.  Double  lanes  of  barbed-wire  stretched  from  the 
North  Sea  almost  to  Aix-la-Chapelle,  in  Germany,  and 
these  lanes  were  guarded  by  mounted  patrols.  The 
geographical  frontier  is  tortuous  and  not  easily  watched. 
The  first  barrier,  therefore,  was  a  simple  barbed-wire 
fence.  But  well  within  the  Belgian  border  was  a  second 
line.  Two  closely  knit,  wickedly  barbed  fences,  about 
eight  feet  apart,  were  reinforced  by  a  third  barrier 
which  consisted  of  strands  of  wire  electrically  charged 
with  a  high  current  and  strung  on  posts  some  seven  feet 
high.  Except  at  the  highways,  which  were  closely 
guarded,  this  formidable  barrier  was  continuous,  and 
land  mines  reinforced  the  barbed-wire  lanes  at  several 

Yet  some  daring  individuals  managed  to  get  through. 
Barrels  with  men  inside  could  be  worked  through  the 
wires,  and  step-ladders  or  vaulting  poles  were  used  to 
surmount  the  entanglements,  but  the  commonest  way 
seemed  to  be  to  sneak  down  the  river  courses  or  through 
the  swamps,  and  chance  a  drowning  or  the  bullet  from  a 
sentry's  rifle. 

Commerce  under  such  conditions  was  romantic  rather 
than  profitable. 



One  difficulty  we  encountered  in  our  conflict  with  the 
bakers  was  lack  of  support  on  the  part  of  the  committee- 
men  of  the  arrondissement  of  Antwerp.  There  was  a 
reason  for  this.  Many  of  them  felt  that  the  war  would 
shortly  be  over  and  that  a  makeshift  organization 
was  sufficient  for  the  interim.  To  some  of  our  best 
friends  we  must  have  seemed  incorrigible  pessimists 
in  our  everlasting  insistence  on  a  permanent  relief 

Once  when  Stratton,  as  arrondissement  delegate  for 
Antwerp,  disagreed  with  his  Belgian  committee,  the  com- 
mittee suggested  that  we  appeal  the  case  to  the  head- 
quarters of  the  Commission  in  Brussels.  To  this  I 
gladly  assented,  and  the  committee,  including  Stratton, 
took  the  next  train. 

They  returned  in  a  day  or  two,  well  satisfied.  The 
Brussels  director  had  ruled  in  accordance  with  our 
wishes,  and  the  Belgian  committee  was  now  unanimous 
for  war  on  the  wicked. 

"  Monsieur  le  Directeur  Crosby  agrees  with  Monsieur 
Hunt  and  Monsieur  Stratton.  It  is  all  arranged.  We 
will  fine  that  bad  baker  five  thousand  francs  and  sus- 
pend his  flour  for  two  weeks." 

Stratton  winked  at  me  broadly  over  the  head  of  the 
speaker.  "  All  is  arranged/*  he  echoed. 

"  But  how  did  you  do  it  ?  "  I  asked,  when  the  com- 


mitteemen  had  gone.    "  The  courier  was  in  town  today, 
and  he  says  Mr.  Crosby  is  in  the  north  of  France." 

"  He  is.  But  it  seemed  too  bad  to  spoil  our  visit  to 
Brussels  just  for  that,  so  I  talked  it  all  over  with  some- 
body in  the  Brussels  office  and  brought  him  in  to  talk  to 
the  committee." 

"  You  did  not  introduce  him  as  Mr.  Crosby ! " 
"  Of  course  I'll  answer  if  you  insist."  .  .  .     Stratton 
whistled  a  bar  of  the  Brabangonne.  ..."  But  what's 
a  name  between  friends?" 

In  pleasing  contrast  to  the  unsatisfactory  state  of  the 
distribution  of  flour  to  the  bakers  was  the  distribution 
of  bread  and  soup  to  the  poor  from  the  Antwerp  soup 
kitchens.  Since  the  beginning  of  the  war  the  number 
of  bread  lines  and  soup  kitchens  in  the  greater  city  had 
grown  to  fifteen.  In  December,  1914,  at  one  station 
several  men  in  a  single  week  fainted  from  hunger;  but 
that  never  afterwards  occurred,  although  we  were  feed- 
ing more  than  thirty-five  thousand  daily.  At  least  ten 
times  during  the  period  from  December  first  to  mid- 
January  there  were  days  when  soup  could  be  had  but 
no  bread,  although  the  universal  rule  of  the  Commission 
was  first  to  care  for  the  destitute  of  all  classes. 

The  ration  of  soup  and  bread  given  at  the  kitchens 
cost  from  ten  to  twelve  centimes  per  day  per  person,  and 
was  of  excellent  quality.  Every  person  brought  his  own 
spoon,  and  might  carry  his  bread  home  to  eat  there  if 


he  wished.  Ten  of  the  soup  kitchens  were  in  school- 
houses.  Before  the  war  the  Antwerp  schools  were 
equipped  to  feed  a  hot  soup  at  mid-day  to  such  of  their 
pupils  as  needed  it,  so  that  a  part  of  the  necessary  equip- 
ment was  at  hand,  and  the  municipality  furnished  extra 
boilers  and  other  utensils.1 

There  were  four  standard  varieties  of  soups — pea, 
bean,  vegetable,  and  bouillon — but  variations  in  the 
amount  of  rice  which  might  be  added  gave  practically  a 
new  soup  for  each  day. 

Every  person  carried  a  card,  stamped  with  the  name 
of  the  soup  station  and  the  name  of  the  bearer,  with 
blank  spaces  where  the  dates  of  deliveries  of  soup  might 
be  indicated.  The  kitchens  were  open  only  between 
11.30  A.  M.  and  1.15  P.  M.  They  often  opened  with 
grace,  spoken  by  a  priest. 

Discipline  was  strict,  and  the  people  were  remarkably 
clean.  They  might  be  poor  and  hungry,  but  they  were 
never  dirty.  The  loathsome  filth  one  might  expect  was 
not  to  be  seen  in  Belgium,  and  this  striking  evidence  of 
self-respect  was  the  more  noteworthy  because  soap  never 
is  furnished  gratis  to  the  Belgian  poor. 

The  cleanliness  of  the  kitchens,  too,  was  admirable,  in 
spite  of  the  frequent  rainy  weather  and  the  relays  of 
people.  The  workers  in  the  kitchens  were  almost  all  of 
them  volunteers,  among  them  men  and  women  teachers, 
nuns,  and  priests.  Every  one  had  work  assigned 

1  See  Appendix  XXVI,  page  353. 


him:  peeling  potatoes,  serving  food,  or  supervising 

At  the  suggestion  of  the  Commission,  a  more  careful 
system  of  identification  cards  was  installed  in  the  soup 
stations,  and  their  administrators  became  a  part  of  our 
local  Antwerp  organization. 

There  were  three  milk  kitchens  and  three  baby  clinics 
maintained  in  Antwerp  by  volunteers.  Before  the  war 
about  thirty-five  out  of  every  forty  mothers  nursed  their 
babies.  Some  idea  of  the  prevalent  demoralization  may 
be  gathered  from  the  fact  that  four  months  after  the 
fall  of  Antwerp  hardly  five  out  of  forty  mothers  were 
able  to  do  so. 

Economic  restaurants  were  available  for  those  whose 
means  allowed  a  payment  of  part  but  not  the 
full  price  for  food.  Three  such  restaurants  were 
founded  in  Antwerp,  and  for  fifty  centimes  or  less  a 
good  meal  was  provided  in  dining-rooms  which  had 
none  of  the  barrack-room  air  of  bread  line  and  soup 
kitchen.  Wherever  a  Belgian  had  money  he  paid  for 
his  food ;  but  the  Commission  served  rich  and  poor  alike.1 


Belgium  needed  far  more  than  bread.  Thousands  had 
neither  clothes  nor  dwellings ;  millions  had  no  work ;  peo- 
ple of  all  classes  were  cold  and  idle  and  ill.  The  task 

1  See  Appendix  XXVII,  page  354,  and  Appendix  XXVIII,  page 


of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium  could  not  long 
remain  a  simple  doling  out  of  rations,  for  food  was  al- 
most useless  without  other  things  as  well — clothing,  fuel, 
dwelling  houses,  money,  and  good  health. 

Typhoid  and  black  measles  were  the  first  epidemics  re- 
ported. In  the  neighborhood  of  Willebroeck — a  town  of 
twelve  thousand  inhabitants,  where  dykes  had  been  cut 
and  the  district  inundated  in  a  vain  effort  to  keep  the 
Germans  out  of  Antwerp — seventy-five  cases  of  typhoid 
were  known  and  others  were  suspected. 

Ernest  P.  Bicknell,  director  of  civilian  relief  for  the 
American  Red  Cross,  Henry  James,  Jr.,  and  Dr. 
Wy cliff e  Rose,  all  representing  the  Rockefeller  Founda- 
tion of  New  York,  visited  Belgium  in  December  and 
prepared  a  report  on  conditions  in  typical  communes. 
Before  January  first,  1915,  the  Rockefeller  Foundation 
contributed  almost  a  million  dollars  to  the  work  of  Bel- 
gian relief,  and  established  a  station  in  Rotterdam  called 
the  Rockefeller  Foundation  War  Relief  Commission, 
to  assist  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium.  This 
station  had  charge  of  the  sorting  and  shipping  of  clothes 
sent  from  America  for  Belgium,  and  among  its  volunteer 
workers  were  two  American  women,  Dr.  Caroline 
Hedger  and  Miss  Janet  A.  Hall,  who  had  served 
on  the  Chicago  Health  Department  and  were  in 
Holland  as  representatives  of  the  Chicago  Woman's 
Club.  At  my  request  these  ladies  came  to  the  province 
of  Antwerp  as  volunteer  health  officers. 


The  winter  was  cold  and  damp  as  an  icy  sponge,  but 
Dr.  Hedger  and  Miss  Hall  set  out  at  once,  with  a  supply 
of  their  own  vaccine,  for  the  scene  of  the  most  impor- 
tant epidemic.  At  Willebroeck  they  lived  for  two 
weeks  in  a  tiny  suite  of  rooms  over  a  Flemish  estaminet, 
were  mould  was  so  thick  on  the  walls  that  one  could 
scrape  it  off  with  one's  fingers.  In  two  weeks'  time  they 
never  once  were  thoroughly  warm,  although  they  were 
admirably  dressed ;  yet  Belgians  lived  through  the  winter 
clad  only  in  cotton  and  wearing  carpet-slippers. 

The  two  devoted  women  went  into  every  house  where 
a  typhoid  case  was  known  or  suspected.  A  typical  visit 
was  to  the  village  of  Sauvegard  where  they  found  every 
one  of  seven  members  of  the  van  der  Zeippen  family  ill 
or  convalescent  from  typhoid.  As  Dr.  Hedger  tells  it, 
"Their  house  had  been  destroyed  and  they  had  lost  all 
their  farm  possessions  but  one  cow.  They  were  living 
in  one  side  of  a  dirt-floored  barn  that  belonged  to  some 
friend,  and  some  one  else  had  given  them  a  bed.  But 
why  this  family  was  living  at  all,  I  do  not  know.  They 
had  rushed  away  ahead  of  the  Germans  with  one  hun- 
dred and  eighty  Belgian  soldiers  at  the  time  of  the  re- 
treat toward  Antwerp ,  and  of  the  one  hundred  and 
eighty  soldiers  only  twenty  got  out  alive.  Yet  this 
family  had  come  out  intact,  and  survived  typhoid  fever 
after  that.  There  were  tears  in  the  eyes  of  that  mother 
— almost  the  only  weeping  we  saw  in  Belgium." 

Strangely  enough,  they  found  all  the  recent  cases  were 


traceable,  not  to  the  inundations,  but  to  the  congested 
refugee  camps  in  Holland,  especially  those  in  Flushing. 
It  was  a  sad  commentary  on  the  generosity  of  the  Dutch 
that  their  Belgian  barracks  actually  spread  disease  among 
the  inmates.  But  it  was  reassuring  to  find  that  we  had 
practically  no  native  epidemics  near  Willebroeck.  This 
was  due  in  part  to  the  able  work  of  local  Belgian 
physicians,  for  the  German  military  doctors  did  not  take 
care  of  Belgian  civilians. 

In  addition  to  tracing  the  source  of  the  Willebroeck 
infection  and  inoculating  the  people  against  typhoid, 
Dr.  Hedger  and  Miss  Hall  presented  to  the  Commission 
about  three  thousand  dollars'  worth  of  anti-typhoid  vac- 
cine, originally  the  gift  of  Dr.  Mary  T.  Lincoln  of  the 
Chicago  Woman's  Club,  and  with  this  we  stamped  out 
the  cases  of  typhoid  in  other  centers  of  infection. 

Dr.  Hedger's  own  words  should  tell  of  the  conclusion 
of  her  stay  in  Willebroeck. 

"We  were  invited  to  a  Sunday  dinner  at  the  house 
of  the  acting-Burgomaster,  Dr.  Persoons.  All  the  blinds 
were  down,  so  we  ate  by  artificial  light.  It  was  a  small 
and  simple  party.  Each  gentleman  had  an  American 
button  in  the  lapel  of  his  coat,  and  the  ladies  wore  the 
Belgian  and  American  colors.  After  dinner  we  were  in- 
vited into  the  parlor  for  coffee,  as  the  custom  is,  and 
there,  hung  from  the  ceiling,  was  a  great  silk  American 


flag,  with  President  Wilson's  picture  on  the  wall  beneath 
it.  How  they  got  this  flag  and  picture  in  that  little  town 
I  do  not  know,  but  there  they  were! 

"  As  soon  as  we  had  had  our  coffee,  the  door  into  the 
hall  opened,  and  there  came  in  a  procession  headed  by 
four  little  children,  two  boys  and  two  girls;  two  carry- 
ing flowers  in  their  hands,  and  two  with  their  silk  school- 
flags — their  Belgian  flags.  Then  I  understood  why  the 
blinds  had  been  drawn.  Belgians  are  not  allowed  to  dis- 
play their  flag  in  public  in  any  way,  so  they  had  been 
obliged  to  bring  them  in  in  the  night. 

"  The  little  children  advanced  and  read  a  Flemish  ad- 
dress, thanking  America  for  the  Christmas  Ship  and  pre- 
senting us  with  their  flowers.  I  replied  through  the  in- 
terpreter, and  supposed  that  was  all.  But  the  children 
fell  back  after  presenting  the  flowers,  and  then  the 
secretary  of  the  Town  Council  read  a  letter  of  thanks 
that  was  one  of  the  most  exquisite  bits  of  English  I 
ever  heard.  It  was  not  absolutely  neutral,  so  you  will 
have  to  wait  until  the  war  is  over  before  you  can  get  the 
exact  wording  of  those  thanks.  After  this  reading  wine 
was  brought,  and  each  gentleman  came  forward,  touched 
glasses,  bowed,  and  gave  his  thanks  individually  to 
America.  .  .  .  They  apologized  because  those  beauti- 
fully arranged  flowers  were  artificial.  They  said  their 
greenhouses  had  all  been  broken  in  the  bombardment,  and 
they  could  not  express  in  beautiful  flowers,  as  they  might 
do  in  days  of  peace,  their  gratitude  to  America." 


In  the  work  at  Willebroeck  Dr.  Hedger  and  Miss  Hall 
came  into  intimate  contact  with  all  the  needs  of  the  peo- 
ple. The  lack  of  proper  clothing,  for  example,  was  pitia- 
ble. For  three  months  some  of  the  children  of  Wille- 
broeck had  stayed  away  from  school,  literally  because 
they  had  no  clothing  to  go  in.  In  every  household  the 
brightest  child  was  selected  to  wear  what  clothes  were 
available.  Little  boys  appeared  in  their  sisters'  dresses 
and  little  girls  in  boy's  clothes. 

This  situation  was  a  commonplace.  Appeals  for 
clothing  came  to  Antwerp  from  all  parts  of  the  province. 
The  war  had  come  at  harvest  time,  when  clothes  are  a 
secondary  consideration,  and  the  people  had  never  had 
an  opportunity  to  provide  themselves  for  the  winter. 
We  never  had  enough  to  supply  them.  It  was  only  when 
the  generous  gifts  of  clothing  began  to  come  from 
America  through  the  Rockefeller  Foundation  War  Re- 
lief Commission,  that  the  situation  improved  at  all.1 

Temporary  houses,  too,  had  to  be  constructed  for  the 
returning  refugees  and  the  peasants  in  the  ruined  vil- 
lages. The  building  of  these  was  one  of  the  most  inter- 
esting and  able  works  of  our  excellent  Belgian  com- 

1  See  Appendix  XXIX,  page  357. 
8  See  Appendix  XXX,  age  359. 

Abri  co  Meet  if  pour  quatre  menages.  (Ouvriers). 

1 8  a  24  personnel  (8  ft  1 2  (its)    —  4  i  8  tetes  de  twtall. 
1°  Composition  par  abri.  —  Habitation. 

Au  rez-de-chaussee  ,  . 
Al'etage     .    ,    .    . 

I     Cuisine     .     .     ..    3,50  a  4,00  X  5,40  ffl. 
I     Chambre  a  couchor  .     .    2,40  x  2,50 
,     .     .          Grenier.     »    ,     »     ,    Memes  dimensions 
Etable       *<,..,....     2.50  x   1,65 
2*  Surface  batie  pour  le  grouj-e. 

4  habitations.    20,60  x  5,80  m.  «=  119.48  in"-  c'* 
4  ctables    .     ,      5,50  X  3,60  in.  —    19.80 



Sf  DevJs  pour  le  gronpft 

Chan* Fr.    90.— 

Bois  (charpentel    ,    A     «     .  -»  700.— 

Portes  et  fehetres  .     ,     .     .  »  245. — 

Carton  bitumc   .     .     ,     *     *  a:  85. — 

Vitrerie  et  peinture    ...  »  65.— 

Averages.     ,....,  '»  36*.— 

Materiauz  •»»•«*         Pavement  monoli the  en  ciment  »  36. — 
Cuves  en  ciment  pour  fosse 

d'aisance  et  puits.     .     .  »  81.— 

Pate  de  papier  et  Fmprevu*  -•  »  '60  — 

Intervention  totile  du  Co  m  i  if  Provincial  Fr.  1398.  — 
Briquesdo  reinploi  fournies  par  !a 

commune.  Evaluces  a    Fr.  250. — 

Main-d'ceuvre  tchomeurs)   «..*«,«.«»...      »    350. — 

Total  par  groupe  Fr.1998.— 

4°  Prix  par  metre  carre  de  surface  batie  »•••«««««     Fr.     14.35 
»     par  tete  d'habitant   j  P<>°r  16  peraounes       .,,...      .     125.- 




+~t*3.n.   «=^A7tfcrrt£i 

Arch. Bergtr. 




Normally  1,757,489  persons  are  engaged  in  Belgian 
commerce  and  industry,  and  the  state  of  many  of  these 
was  desperate.  In  January,  1915,  Mr.  Michel  Levie, 
president  of  the  Board  of  Directors  of  the  National  As- 
sociation of  Light  Railways,  drew  up  for  the  National 
Committee  an  extensive  plan  for  unemployment  relief. 
Excluding  agricultural  laborers,  the  entire  body  of 
artisans  and  employees  of  industry  and  commerce  of 
both  sexes,  more  than  sixteen  years  old,  who,  living  on 
the  product  of  their  work,  had  been  deprived  of  this 
work  because  of  the  war,  and  who  were  actually  at  the 
moment  in  want,  were  embraced  in  the  plan.  These 
chomeurs,  as  the  unemployed  are  called  in  French,  were 
to  be  utilized  by  the  communal  organizations  in  public 
works,  such  as  draining,  ditching,  constructing  embank- 
ments, and  building  sewers.  The  communal  authorities 
having  such  employment  in  charge  were  especially  rec- 
ommended to  work  through  the  Labor  Exchanges,  Un- 
employment Benefit  Associations,  Trades  Unions,  and 
other  similar  bodies.  The  relief  was  to  be  distributed 
in  food  or  other  supplies,  in  money,  or  in  the  form  of 
relief  coupons  or  salary  checks. 

To  carry  out  this  plan  the  National  Committee, 
through  the  Provincial  Committees,  subsidized  the  com- 
munal organizations  up  to  nine-tenths  of  the  assistance 


to  be   allowed   to   the   unemployed,   the   commune   to 
furnish  the  other  one-tenth. 

The  basis  was  interesting.  If  the  unemployed  were  a 
bachelor,  he  received  three  francs  per  week;  if  the  head 
of  a  family,  three  francs  for  himself,  plus  one  and  one- 
half  francs  for  his  wife  or  housekeeper,  and  fifty  cen- 
times for  each  child  less  than  sixteen  years  old,  living 
with  the  parents  and  not  working.  A  woman  in  industry 
received  the  same  sum  as  a  man. 

The  communes  were  obliged  to  furnish  to  the  Provin- 
cial Committees,  for  transmission  to  the  National  Com- 
mittee, certified  lists  of  their  unemployed,  and  rigid  rules 
with  frequent  examinations  of  the  lists  were  provided 
to  prevent  frauds.  Invalids,  the  infirm,  victims  of  acci- 
dents who  were  receiving  other  assistance,  wives  and 
children  benefiting  by  the  relief  allowed  to  families 
of  soldiers,  or  men  without  employment  who  refused 
to  accept  the  work  provided  for  them  by  the  com- 
munes, were  excluded  from  the  lists  of  chomeurs. 

The  first  enrolment  of  the  classified  unemployed  in 
Belgium  amounted  to  more  than  seven  hundred  and  sixty 
thousand  names.  Including  those  dependent  upon  them 
the  number  was  one  million  three  hundred  and  forty- 
seven  thousand  nine  hundred  and  twenty-two  persons. 
In  the  province  of  Antwerp  out  of  a  total  population 
of  one  million  eighty-seven  thousand  five  hundred  the 
number  of  unemployed  was  two  hundred  and  thirteen 


thousand    three    hundred    and    ninety-seven,    and    this 
number  steadily  increased.1 

The  first  purpose  of  unemployment  relief  was  to  pro- 
vide a  certain  minimum  of  assistance  which  would 
include  food,  clothing,  shelter,  fuel,  and  other  things 
necessary  to  maintain  the  family  life  of  the  workers. 
Its  second  purpose  was  to  provide  employment,  and 
so  to  combat  the  growing  demoralization  of  the  coun- 
try. From  an  administrative  point  of  view,  however, 
it  brought  complications. 

Up  to  this  time  the  Germans  had  secured  a  certain 
amount  of  labor  from  the  Belgians,  and  would  probably 
have  secured  more  had  the  unemployment  relief  re- 
mained unorganized.  They  could  of  course  provide  em- 
ployment for  only  a  few  classes  of  Belgian  workmen, 
but  the  system  of  communal  relief  for  the  unemployed 
practically  closed  all  doors  against  them.  Thereafter 
Belgians  could  work  without  working  for  the  Germans. 

The  Commission  was  thoroughly  alive  to  the  danger. 
The  plan  of  relief  for  the  unemployed  was  a  Belgian 
plan,  the  administrators  were  Belgians,  and  the  recipi- 
ents of  course  were  Belgians.  We  were  neutrals;  Bel- 
gians were  belligerents.  We  needed  constantly  to  be  on 
our  guard  against  unscrupulous  patriots  who  might  use 
us  to  club  the  Germans.  From  Minister  Brand  Whit- 

1  See  Appendix  XXXI,  page  361,  and  Appendix  XXXII,  page 


lock  down  to  the  humblest  worker  in  the  Commission, 
we  were  overwhelmed  with  appeals  for  protection  which 
we  had  no  right  to  hear  and  with  which  we  had 
no  power  to  deal.  This  was  awkward  for  the  Commis- 
sion and  irritating  to  the  Germans.  Neither  we  nor  the 
Belgians  were  wholly  to  blame,  but  the  situation  did  not 
flatter  German  pride  and  undoubtedly  aroused  their  suspi- 

In  the  plans  for  chomeur  relief,  then,  the  Commission 
was  not  involved,  but  as  a  matter  of  administrative  fact 
the  Commission  and  the  National  Relief  Committee 
were  married  partners,  and  neither  could  act  without  in- 
volving the  other. 



A  CHANGE  had  come  about  in  the  attitude  of  the  Ger- 
man authorities  toward  the  Commission  for  Relief  in 
Belgium  and  the  National  Committee.  The  Germans, 
like  every  one  else,  had  expected  a  short  war.  Belgian 
relief  was  a  temporary  measure.  But  with  every  month 
of  lengthened  warfare  the  work  of  relief  and  the  work  of 
government  in  Belgium  became  more  definite  and  inclu- 
sive and  the  occasions  for  misunderstandings  increased. 

On  October  sixteenth,  1914,  Governor-General  von 
de  Goltz  had  written  with  the  utmost  cordiality  to 
the  Central  Relief  Committee.  "  I  approve  with  lively 
satisfaction  the  work  of  the  Central  Relief  Committee," 
his  letter  runs,  "  and  I  do  not  hesitate  formally  and  ex- 
pressly to  give  by  this  letter  assurance  that  foodstuffs 
of  all  sorts  imported  by  the  Committee  to  feed  the  civil 
population  are  reserved  exclusively  for  the  needs  of  the 
population  of  Belgium,  that  consequently  these  food- 
stuffs are  exempt  from  requisition  on  the  part  of  the  mili- 
tary authorities,  and  that  they  remain  exclusively  at  the 
disposition  of  the  Committee."  Eight  months  later,  on 



June  twenty-sixth,  1915,  Governor-General  von  Bissing 
wrote  to  the  Minister-patrons  of  the  Committee  in  a  very 
different  strain.  "  Having  myself  made  an  estimate  of 
the  damages  occasioned  by  the  war/'  announced  the 
Governor-General,  "no  inquiries  on  the  subject  of 
requisitions  by  the  German  troops  will  be  permitted. 

"  The  inspectors  of  the  committees  and  the  Commission 
for  Relief  in  Belgium  have  the  right  to  make  statements 
of  abuses  committed  by  millers,  and  so  forth,  but  their 
right  is  confined  to  making  these  statements.  It  is  then 
permitted  them  to  communicate  to  the  competent  authori- 
ties (the  German  Government),  with  a  request  to  them 
to  give  the  complaints  the  attention  they  deserve." 

Until  July  the  committees  and  the  Commission 
had  punished  infractions  of  rules  either  by  fining  the  re- 
calcitrants or  withdrawing  supplies  for  brief  periods.  If 
a  baker  gave  short  weight  or  bad  bread  and  was  con- 
victed of  it,  we  were  able  either  to  drive  him  out  of 
business  or  to  put  him  in  a  temper  to  play  fair  with  us 
in  future.  The  two  or  three  instances  of  communes 
where  burgomasters  or  other  officers  were  unfair,  who 
exploited  either  the  money  or  the  food  which  we  gave 
them,  were  met  in  a  similar  way.  Now,  on  proclamation 
of  the  Governor-General,  this  power  was  taken  from  us, 
and  we  were  reduced  to  the  slow  processes  of  Belgian  law 
under  the  auspices  of  the  German  military  authorities. 

Such  a  restriction  was  inevitable  in  time.  But  the 
temper,  if  not  the  ruling  itself,  seemed  hostile:  The 


first  evidences  of  German  irritation  had  been  shown 
long  before.  Officers  in  Pass  Bureaus  and  at  sentry- 
posts  argued  with  the  Commission  delegates  the  morality 
of  American  shipments  of  arms  to  the  Allies.  Our 
monthly  passes  for  automobiles  became  more  difficult  to 
get.  Twice  or  thrice  we  were  forced  to  lie  idle  for  a 
day  or  two  on  account  of  the  failure  of  Pass  Bureaus 
to  provide  our  passes  promptly. 

The  inexhaustible  kindness  which  the  Belgians  showed 
us  seemed  to  irritate  some  of  the  Germans.  On  one  oc- 
casion Provincial  Committeeman  Delannoy  applied  to 
General  von  Bodenhausen,  Governor  of  the  city  of 
Antwerp,  for  permission  to  show  (t  les  americains " 
through  the  vast  sewer  system  underlying  the  streets — -a 
system  comparable  to  the  Parisian  system  described  by 
Victor  Hugo  in  Les  Miserables. 

"  Permission  to  boat  through  the  passageways  to  show 
the  Americans  the  sewers  of  Antwerp?" 

"  Yes,  General." 

"  Certainly  not.    I  will  do  nothing  for  the  Americans." 

Next  the  authorities  objected  to  the  American  flag  on 
automobiles  and  warehouses  of  the  Commission.  Ger- 
man officers  stopped  Commission  cars  and  warned  us 
that  there  was  but  one  flag  in  Belgium  and  that  was  the 
German  flag.  We  had  flown  our  flag  over  our  ware- 
houses and  storehouses  in  every  city  and  village  in  Bel- 
gium. It  gave  the  Belgian  people  a  feeling  of  security 

GREAT  BRITAIN  TAKES  A  HAND          311 

to  see  the  stars-and-stripes  in  their  midst.  It  made  them 
feel  that  the  weight  of  the  United  States  was  behind  their 
bread  supply. 

At  least  one  German  officer,  Major-General  von  Long- 
champ,  stationed  at  Namur,  was  a  pleasant  exception  to 
the  circle  of  objectors.  He  insisted  that  the  delegates 
fly  the  flag  on  their  automobiles,  and  suggested  that 
they  wear  American  rosettes  in  their  buttonholes,  "  Be- 
cause," he  said,  "  it  makes  the  Belgian  people  more 
confident  and  happy." 

But  the  American  Minister  did  not  see  things  as  we 
did.  He  dreaded  hostile  demonstrations  and  deprecated 
any  use  of  the  American  flag  by  the  Belgians.  At  last 
he  ordered  us  to  remove  the  flag  from  our  automobiles. 
He  then  negotiated  with  the  Governor-General  who  de- 
creed that  the  Commission  must  haul  down  the  flag  from 
all  warehouses  except  the  principal  warehouse  in  cities 
where  a  German  Governor  had  his  residence,  and  that 
we  might  hoist  in  the  Flemish  provinces  a  white  ensign 
on  which  was  lettered,  "  Nationaal  Hulp-  en  Voedings- 
Komiteit" — and  in  the  French-speaking  provinces, 
"  Comite  National  de  Secours  et  d"  Alimentation  " 


The  Governor-General  specifically  took  from  the 
benevolent  department  of  the  National  Relief  Com- 
mittee privileges  which  it  had  hitherto  exercised — such 
as  the  use  of  the  Commission  courier  service  and  the 


transmission  of  uncensored  instructions  to  the  communal 
organizations — and  abrogated  its  right  to  discipline  its 
agents.  In  cases  of  fraud  the  committees  were  in- 
structed to  appeal  either  to  local  Belgian  police  courts, 
whose  decisions  were  subject  to  military  review,  or  to 
the  German  Civil  Government. 

In  his  letter  of  June  twenty-sixth  to  the  Minister- 
patrons  the  Governor-General  included  this  ominous 
paragraph :  "  All  tendency  on  the  part  of  the  National 
Committee  to  monopolize  the  distribution  of  charitable 
assistance  in  Belgium  must  be  stopped.  The  principle 
must  be  maintained  that  all  other  charitable  organiza- 
tions, above  all,  the  Belgian  Red  Cross,  have  the  right 
to  act  side  by  side  with,  and  outside  of,  the  National 

The  National  Relief  Committee  had  never  claimed, 
nor  could  it  claim,  a  monopoly  of  Belgian  relief  work. 
Its  policy  was  federal,  not  monopolistic.  Its  aim  was  re- 
lief in  Belgium  and  nothing  else.  Scores  of  existing  re- 
lief organizations  had  been  patronized  and  subsidized  by 
the  Committee,  but  all  were  engaged  in  work  which  was 
humanitarian  and  at  bottom  neutral.  Any  other  basis 
was  impossible.  Mr.  Brand  Whitlock,  the  Marquis  of 
Villalobar,  and  their  colleague  and  new  Minister-patron, 
Jonkheer  de  Weede,  Dutch  Minister  at  Havre,  could  not 
have  lent  their  names  to  any  other  program. 

But  on  the  other  hand  the  Belgian  Red  Cross  was  no 
longer  Belgian.  The  German  authorities,  for  reasons 

GREAT  BRITAIN  TAKES  A  HAND          313 

which  have  not  been  made  clear,  had  taken  charge  of 
it,  and  Prince  Hatzfeldt  was  its  head. 

Then  as  always  when  we  were  in  great  difficulty  in 
Belgium  came  Herbert  C.  Hoover. 

A  letter  preceded  him  from  the  Marquess  of 
Crewe,  Lord  President  of  the  British  Council,  de- 
manding that  the  German  Government  hand  over  to 
the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium  and  the  National 
Relief  Committee,  for  distribution  to  the  Belgians,  the 
whole  of  the  indigenous  cereal  crop  for  1915,  and 
add  to  this  the  usual  guarantees  against  military  requi- 

All  small  matters  under  negotiation  faded  before  this 
fundamental  demand.  We  were  informed  by  the  British 
Admirality  that  shipments  into  Belgium  must  cease  on 
August  fifteenth,  unless  the  demand  were  complied  with 
before  that  date. 

Exactly  what  followed  is  known  only  to  a  few  men. 
Berlin,  not  Brussels,  took  the  helm.  There  came  a  sud- 
den reversal  of  policies.  Embarrassing  orders  which 
had  previously  been  given  were  tacitly  ignored  and 
the  entire  cereal  crop  of  Belgium  was  reserved  for  the 
Belgians  on  the  terms  insisted  upon  by  Great  Britain. 
From  the  harvests  of  1915  the  Commission  for  Relief 
in  Belgium  received  as  steward  for  the  Belgian  people 
fifteen  thousand  tons  of  wheat  per  month,  and  imported 
from  abroad  a  supplemental  fifty-five  thousand  tons  per 


To  requisition  the  crop  the  German  General  Govern- 
ment constituted  an  interesting  bit  of  machinery  called 
the  Central  Crop  Commission  on  which  there  were  five 
Germans,  one  Belgian,  and  one  American.  A  maximum 
price  was  decreed  at  which  the  crop  was  to  be  purchased 
of  the  farmer  and  a  maximum  price  at  which  flour  was 
to  be  sold  throughout  Belgium.  Barley  was  requisi- 
tioned for  the  Belgian  breweries;  rye  was  apportioned 
between  human  and  animal  consumers;  and  traffic  in 
cereals  outside  of  the  channels  of  the  Commission  was 
absolutely  prohibited. 

The  function  of  the  Central  Crop  Commission  was  to 
requisition  the  crop  under  such  circumstances  as  made  it 
easy  for  the  Belgian  National  Committee  and  the  Com- 
mission for  Relief  in  Belgium  to  purchase  and  distribute 
it  to  the  ultimate  consumers.  Provincial  co-operative  so- 
cieties were  instituted  with  sufficient  capital  available  to 
buy  one-twelfth  of  the  crop  each  month,  and  it  was  then 
turned  over  to  the  committees,  and  by  them  distributed 
as  if  it  were  imported  grain.14 

The  tension  at  headquarters  relaxed  abruptly  and  a 
fairer  and  franker  attitude  toward  the  Commission 
and  the  National  Committee  took  the  place  of  the  earlier 
distrust.  It  is  safe  to  infer  that  much  of  this  was  due 
to  Herbert  C.  Hoover. 

'See  Appendix  XXXIII,  page  365,  and  Appendix  XXXIV, 
page  366. 



The  work  of  the  Commission  now  touched  a  much 
larger  number  of  people  than  at  first.  Its  more  than 
seven  million  four  hundred  thousand  clients  had  grown 
to  nearly  ten  million.  On  April  nineteenth,  1915,  the 
Commission,  represented  by  its  Brussels  director,  Oscar 
T.  Crosby,  and  the  Quartermaster  Department  of  the 
German  General  Staff  Headquarters  in  the  north  of 
France,  represented  by  Major  von  Kessler,  signed  an 
agreement  extending  the  American  relief  work  into  those 
departments  of  the  north  of  France  within  the  German 
zone  of  occupation,  and  affecting  a  population  of  two 
million  one  hundred  and  forty  thousand.  Five  autono- 
mous districts  were  created:  Lille,  with  a  population  of 
six  hundred  and  seventy  thousand;  Valenciennes,  with 
six  hundred  and  twenty  thousand;  Saint  Quentin,  with 
three  hundred  and  thirty  thousand;  Vervins,  with  two 
hundred  and  eighty  thousand;  Rethel-Charleville,  with 
one  hundred  and  fifty  thousand;  and  Longwy,  with 
ninety  thousand.  Maubeuge,  with  one  hundred  thousand, 
and  Givet-Fumay,  with  thirty  thousand  inhabitants, 
had  already  been  annexed  for  purposes  of  the  relief 
work  to  the  Belgian  province  of  Namur.1 

For  each  of  these  districts  two  American  delegates 
were  appointed,  and  a  German  officer  who  spoke  both 
French  and  English  was  especially  assigned  to  co-op- 

1  See  Appendix  XXXV,  page  367. 


erate  with  the  Americans,  to  accompany  them  everywhere, 
and  to  censor  all  their  telegrams  or  letters.  In  theory, 
the  German  "  nurse  "  and  the  American  delegates  were 
inseparable.  The  Americans  rode  in  military  automo- 
biles, and  they  could  be  provided  with  free  lodgings  and 
the  food  and  service  belonging  to  a  German  officer,  if 
they  so  desired. 

The  same  guarantees  covered  Commission  supplies  in 
the  north  of  France  as  in  Belgium. 

The  spirit  of  the  work  in  France  differed  from  that 
in  most  of  Belgium.  The  misery  was  as  great,  or  even 
greater  when  the  work  began,  but  the  people  seemed 
less  energetic,  less  resistant  than  the  Belgian  populations. 
Commission  delegates  often  remarked  that  the  conquered 
French  seemed  to  feel  less  outraged  by  the  war.  "  If  the 
Germans  were  not  here,  our  armies  might  be  in  their 
country.  It  is  war,"  an  old  man  once  said  to  me  sadly. 

But  the  cause  lay  deeper  than  philosophy.  It  lay  to 
some  extent  in  the  lack  of  leaders  and  a  lack  of  organiza- 
tion. Most  of  the  notables  were  gone.  The  young  men 
were  in  the  French  army;  the  older  and  more  important 
citizens  were  also  beyond  the  German  lines.  There 
were  no  such  men  as  Cardinal  Mercier,  Emile  Francqui, 
Louis  Solvay,  or  Jean  Jadot  in  the  north  of  France. 
The  land  was  a  vast  concentration  camp  guarded  at 
every  point.  But  another  reason  for  the  listlessness  lay 
in  the  fact  that  in  northern  France  there  lives  a  dis- 
spirited,  exhausted,  worked-out  racial  stock.  Hunch- 


backs,  cripples,  and  other  deformities  are  common ;  for  it 
is  the  industrial  and  unromantic  portion,  the  Pittsburgh 
district  of  France,  which  the  German  armies  hold,  and 
modern  industry  had  taken  its  toll  of  the  inhabitants 
long  before  militarism  laid  its  hand  upon  them.1 

1  See  Appendix  XXXVI,  page  368. 



" '  How  America  saved  Belgium '  would  make  a  fine 
title  for  a  book  on  the  relief  work/'  suggested  a  friend. 

"  But  it  wouldn't  be  true." 

"Wouldn't  be  true?" 

"No.  Not  yet,  at  any  rate.  The  Belgians  aren't 
saved  yet.  Saving  them  is  a  day  to  day  work  until  the 
end  of  the  war.  Besides  that,  America  hasn't  done  the 
bulk  of  it  so  far." 

"  Hasn't?  Why,  what  is  all  this  Belgian  gratitude  for? 
You  say  America  hasn't  done  the  work?  Who  has?" 

"  Let  me  ask  you  a  question  first.  Do  you  know  how 
much  it  costs  per  month  to  feed  Belgium  and  northern 
France  ?  " 

"  I  haven't  the  ghost  of  an  idea." 

"  Approximately  $7,500,000  for  Belgium,  and  $4,400,- 
ooo  for  France.  And  do  you  know  how  much  cash 
America  has  contributed  up  to  May  thirty-first,  1916? 
Approximately  $1,147,600.  .  .  .  And  how  much  food? 
Approximately  $4,809,100  worth.  .  .  .  And  how  much 
clothing?  Most  of  $4,500,000  worth.  .  .  .  Add  them 



all  together  and  count  them  all  as  food,  and  you  have 
$10,456,700.  Divide  that  by  the  monthly  requirement, 
$7,500,000 — notice  that  I  omit  the  north  of  France  al- 
together— and  you  have  food  for  Belgium  for  one  and 
two-fifths  months,  or  about  forty-three  days. 

"  Take  the  two  million  five  hundred  thousand  desti- 
tute who  are  our  special  wards.  They  are  about  one- 
third  of  the  total  population  of  Belgium.  Multiply  forty- 
three  days  by  three,  and  you  have  one  hundred  and 
twenty-nine  days,  or  about  four  months'  life  for  the 
destitute,  if  they  alone  are  considered. 

"  That  is  not  the  whole  story,  of  course.  The  operat- 
ing expenses  of  the  Commission  have  been  less  than  one 
per  cent  of  its  expenditures,  largely  because  of  the 
volunteer  services  given  by  its  members,  most  of  whom 
are  Americans.  Hoover  time  and  again  has  mentioned 
this  in  his  reports  as  a  contribution  amounting  to  mil- 
lions and  millions  of  dollars.  As  long  ago  as  June 
thirtieth,  1915,  he  estimated  it  at  $4,800,000. 

"  And  that  is  not  all.  Hoover  says  in  one  of  his  re- 
ports :  '  One  feature  of  publicity  has  been  of  the  utmost 
importance  to  this  work.  The  Commission  felt  that  with 
the  tendency  to  toss  the  ball  of  responsibility  for  feed- 
ing the  civil  population  between  the  belligerents,  the 
greatest  hope  of  maintaining  the  open  door  for  the  im- 
portation of  foodstuffs  into  Belgium  and  the  retention 
of  native  food,  was  to  create  the  widest  possible  public 
opinion  on  the  subject.  We  believed  that  if  the  rights 


of  the  civil  population  in  the  matter  of  food  could  be 
made  a  question  of  public  interest  second  to  the  war  it- 
self, then  the  strongest  bulwark  in  support  of  the  Com- 
mission would  have  been  created.  Public  opinion  in  this 
matter  has  been  developed  to  a  remarkable  degree,  and 
has  yielded  results  which  cannot  now  well  be  discussed 
at  the  length  the  subject  warrants,  but  they  have  been  of 
transcendent  importance  in  the  solution  of  the  whole 

"  These  things  are  big.  The  trouble  is  people  think 
the  work  is  done  and  so  tie  Hoover's  hands  while  they 
pride  themselves  on  his  achievement.  They  can  hardly 
realize  that  the  Belgian  Government  is  straining  every 
nerve  to  help,  that  a  group  of  French  banks  has  stood 
manfully  by  the  work  in  the  north  of  France,  and  yet 
that  more  money  must  be  had.1  They  surely  do  not 
realize  that  charitable  people  in  the  British  Empire  are 
giving  more  to  Belgian  relief  than  Americans  are  this 
minute.  Their  contribution  was  more  than  $12,000,000 
up  to  May  thirty-first,  1916,  and  still  goes  on.  Small  but 
steady  contributions  do  the  most  good." 

"  But  America  is  so  big,  and  there  are  so  many  other 
things  to  think  about,"  my  friend  said  fretfully.  "  Aren't 
we  Americans  a  little  tired  of  Belgium  ?  "  .  .  . 

We  were  sitting  in  the  hall  of  the  Hotel  des  Indes  in 
the  Hague — a  gilded  nest  of  international  spies,  where 

1  See  Appendix  XXXVIII,  page  372. 


secret  service  agents  of  half  a  dozen  countries  wear  the 
livery  of  porters,  chauffeurs,  maidservants,  and  waiters, 
or  cultivate  the  languor  and  Parisian  gr^ace  of  guests.  It 
was  a  nauseating  atmosphere  in  which  to  discuss  the 
Belgian  work;  an  atmosphere  of  intrigue  and  cynicism 
and  brutality. 

My  thoughts  jumped  back  into  Belgium,  and  I  had 
sight  again  of  the  marvelous  vision  of  America 
which  Belgians  believe  in  as  they  believe  in  God — 
the  America  which,  my  friend  said,  had  grown  a 
little  tired  of  Belgium.  It  was  a  vision  of  a  new  At- 
lantis, rich,  kind,  secure  from  the  dangers  of  war ;  a  land 
where  there  is  no  oppression,  a  land  of  toleration  and 
understanding,  where  every  man,  woman,  and  child  is  a 
democrat,  where  there  are  no  classes  and  no  masses, 
where  there  is  no  conflict  between  parties,  or  between 
Church  and  State,  where  every  one  is  a  friend  to  those 
who  are  suffering  in  this  war  from  no  fault  of  their  own ; 
a  mighty  land  which  can  afford  to  be  generous  to  its 
neighbors,  near  and  far;  a  land  where  there  is  one  lan- 
guage, one  spirit,  and  one  flag. 

Of  course  the  picture  is  overdrawn.  Of  course  we  are 
not  much  different  from  Belgians,  or  any  other  people  in 
this  tired  world.  Chapters  of  our  national  history,  such 
as  our  dealings  with  the  Indians,  the  Mexican  War, 
or  the  way  we  deal  with  industrial  disputes,  are  fortu- 
nately unknown  to  our  friends  across  the  sea.  But  it 
seemed  to  me  this  Golden  Legend  might  be  made  in' part 


a  fact  if  America  were  to  understand,  humbly  and  hu- 
manly to  understand,  and  to  support  in  every  way — with 
money,  and  service,  and  national  pride  in  a  great 
achievement — the  work  of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in 
Belgium  and  of  Herbert  Clark  Hoover. 
That  is  one  reason  why  this  book  is  written. 


The  day  came  when  I  left  Belgium  to  go  to  America 
with  Herbert  C.  Hoover,  who  had  crossed  the  frontier  a 
few  days  before.  A  thick  mist  clung  to  the  landscape; 
the  cold,  drenching  mist  which  often  hid  the  Belgian  soil 
like  a  shroud.  And  a  mist  of  tears  flooded  my  eyes. 
Leaving  Belgium  for  America  was  like  leaving  home  to 
go  home. 

At  the  first  frontier  post  an  officer  whom  I  had  often 
seen  on  my  trips  to  and  from  Holland  stepped  out  and 
took  the  passports  and  inspected  the  luggage  piled  high 
in  the  automobile.  A  lancer  rode  by  in  the  half-light. 
Ghostly  gray  sentries  stole  out  with  lanterns  to  the 
barbed-wire  entanglements  and  high-tension  power  sta- 
tion for  charging  electric  cables  which  kill  those  who 
try  to  cross  the  No  Man's  Land  between  Belgium  and  the 
outer  world.  Other  soldiers  who  had  been  loafing  in 
the  sentry  house  came  out  to  stare  in  silence  at  the  motor- 

The  officer  reappeared  and  handed  me  the  vised  pass- 


"Bitte  sehr,  Herr  Hunt,"  he  said.  "  It  is  for  the  last 
time,  nicht  wahrf  May  I  speak  to  you  frankly?  Yes? 
.  .  .  The  Americans  are  not  our  friends.  Tell  them  the 
truth  when  you  get  to  America,  nicht  wahrf  Only  the 

"  I  will  tell  them  only  the  truth,"  I  answered  soberly. 
"  But,  Herr  Officer,  in  time  to  come,  when  you  and  I  see 
more  clearly,  in  fifty  years  from  now " 

"  In  fifty  years !  "  he  repeated  bitterly.  "  Maybe  we 
shall  all  be  dead  in  fifty  minutes.  You  Americans 
furnish  ammunition " 

"And  bread,"  I  interrupted.  "Never  forget  that. 
When  you  think  of  the  ammunition  we  sell,  think  of 
the  bread  we  give  to  Belgium.  Good-by,  Herr  Officer, 
and  a  safe  return  to  Germany.  A uf  Wiederseh'n  in 
Deutschland,  when  the  war  is  over." 

"Auf  Wiederseh'n,  when  there  is  peace.  Gute  Reise 
— good  journey,"  he  said. 

The  red  lantern  in  the  sentry's  hand  dropped  from 
sight,  and  my  automobile  sprang  forward.  "  Gute 
Reise"  a  voice  called  from  the  dark.  Mist  rolled  down 
like  a  sea,  the  lamps  of  the  car  were  blinded  with  mois- 
ture, and  the  road  swam  beneath.  ...  I  thought  and 
thought  of  the  ravished  land  which  I  was  leaving :  a  land 
almost  as  dear  to  me  as  home ;  a  place  of  multitudes  of 
friendships,  of  countless  kindnesses  which  I  had  re- 
ceived, not  for  myself  but  for  the  American  people. 


The  trunks  piled  in  my  automobile  held  hundreds  of 
souvenirs:  flour  sacks  embroidered  by  friends,  medal- 
lions, lace,  paintings,  etchings,  silk  banners,  books,  parch- 
ment rolls,  and  other  intimate  reminders  of  the  work  and 
the  war.1  But  memories  more  precious  even  than  these 
were  written  in  my  mind  and  heart:  the  loyalty  of 
friends,  the  hardships  and  triumphs  of  the  task  of  relief, 
the  spirit  of  the  men  who  had  served  with  me  in  Ant- 
werp, the  finished  organization  which  we,  Americans  and 
Belgians  alike,  had  at  last  achieved;  the  personal  knowl- 
edge that  more  than  a  million  people  had  for  one  year 
at  any  rate  received  their  food,  had  been  kept  in  good 
health,  and  had  risen  from  the  pit  of  despair  into  self- 
respect  and  confidence  and  hope.  It  was  a  work  which 
must  go  on  day  by  day  to  the  end  of  the  war. 

And  what  splendid  people  these  Belgians  are!  I  had 
not  seen  much  of  the  Walloons,  but  American  delegates 
from  the  southern  provinces  were  loud  in  praise  of  them. 
The  Flemings  I  knew  and  loved.  A  proud,  stiff-necked, 
stoutly  independent  people;  insubordinate,  tenacious, 
clever — they  are  a  stock  which  will  not  die ;  a  fine  element 
in  European  history  in  the  past,  and  with  great  promise 
for  the  future. 

The  automobile  sped  on  into  Esschen — the  frontier 
town  where  on  my  first  visit  to  Belgium  I  had  seen 
refugees  flying  from  the  Germans.  Now,  in  the  bleak 

1  See  Appendix  XXXIX,  page  372. 

„.  M  rn,an  rvBE  HUNT 

Embroidered  and  painted  by  the  Belgians  as  souvenirs  for  the  Americans. 


rooms  of  the  Town  Hall  sat  a  relief  committee 
— reliable,  hard-working,  conscientious  volunteers — 
providing  daily  rations  of  war  bread  and  other  food, 
clothing,  money,  and  work  for  the  people  of  their  com- 
mune. It  was  a  vast  change  from  the  chaos  of  the  year 
before.  The  rebirth  of  Belgium  had  begun.  .  .  . 

"  You  are  going  to  America,  Herr  Hunt  ?  "  the  Ger- 
mans asked  at  the  last  sentry  post.  "  Gute  Reise,  gluck- 
liche  Reise,  auf  Wiedersetin!" 

The  car  moved  forward  again.  At  the  back  of  a  little 
Flemish  church,  surrounded  with  graveyard  crosses 
swimming  in  murk  and  mist,  I  caught  sight  of  a  greater 
cross  and  an  image  of  the  agonized  Christ — the  familiar 
symbol  of  our  common  humanity.  On  that  dark  day 
it  seemed  peculiarly  the  symbol  of  Belgium — the  little 
land  which  has  suffered  so  much,  but  whose  moral 
triumph  is  sure ;  the  land  which  has  been  crucified,  dead, 
and  buried,  but  from  which  a  free  and  united  people  must 
rise,  or  else  life  is  a  mockery.  .  .  .  The  vague  shape 
of  the  shrine  faded  in  the  dusk  as  the  last  sentries  opened 
the  frontier  barriers  and  stepped  aside  to  let  me  into  free 
and  neutral  Holland. 

"  Good  evening,  mynheer,"  called  a  Dutch  officer  in 
the  quaint,  sing-song  dialect  of  North  Brabant.  "  Have 
you  something  to  show  to  the  customs  inspector  this 
evening?  " 

And  as  Pierre  de  Weert,  prince  of  chauffeurs,  fumbled 


with  numbed  fingers  at  the  straps  of  my  luggage,  he 
lifted  his  face,  and  gazing  through  the  dusk  toward  the 
country  we  had  just  left,  sadly  spoke  my  valedictory: 
"  Monsieur,  vous  avez  quitte  la  belle  Belgique — you  have 
left  our  beautiful  Belgium !  " 


This  account  was  published  in  the  Outlook  of  January 
26,  1916,  after  later  utterances  of  Liebknecht  had  gone 
far  beyond  the  words  here  recorded.  The  following  is 
reprinted  from  the  Outlook  of  Wednesday,  April  12,  1916. 

IN  its  issue  of  February  17,  1916,  La  Bataille,  the  syndi- 
calist Paris  daily,  published  a  translation  of  the  article 
which  appeared  in  the  Outlook  of  January  26,  1916,  on 
Liebknecht,  Kautsky,  and  Bernstein.  The  French  paper 
justly  said  that  these  were  "  the  three  German  Socialists 
best  authorized  to  express  opinions  on  the  general  situa- 
tion in  Germany  and  on  the  attitude  of  German  workmen 
in  the  world  conflict." 

In  its  issue  of  March  2  La  Bataille  states  that  it  has 
learned  that  Bernstein  and  Kautsky  published  in  the  Berlin 
Vorw'drts  of  February  27  a  strong  protest,  categorically 
denying  the  affirmations  of  the  Outlook's  representative,  as 
follows : 

We  have  never  seen  the  Outlook's  representative  and  have 
expressed  ourselves  in  such  terms  to  no  one,  for  we  have 
been  made  to  say  the  contrary  to  what  seems  to  us  just  and 
necessary  to  say. 

We  have  searched  our  file  of  Vorw'drts,  and  especially 
the  issue  of  February  27,  without  discovering  the  above 
denial.  Again  in  its  issue  of  March  12  La  Bataille  quotes 
the  Brunswick  Socialist  organ,  Volksfreund,  as  printing  the 
following  letter,  dated  February  27,  from  Dr.  Liebknecht: 



I  have  never  been  interviewed  by  a  representative  of  the 
Outlook.  My  opinions  are  known  and  decided  opinions. 
That  which  the  Outlook's  correspondent  makes  me  to  say  is 
contrary  to  these  opinions  and — on  certain  points — to  the 

La  Bataille  is  mystified.  In  its  issues  of  March  2  and 
12  it  discusses  editorially  the  controversy  between  the  Out- 
look and  the  three  German  Socialists.  From  these  editorials 
we  translate  and  combine  the  following  paragraphs  which 
give  a  fair  representation  of  the  not  unnatural  mystification 
of  La  Bataille: 

The  Outlook  of  New  York  has  a  reputation  for  accuracy. 
As  an  indication  of  this  we  need  only  to  remind  our  readers 
of  the  interview  it  obtained  and  published  with  Sazonoff 
[the  Russian  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs].  That  interview 
has  received  the  seal  of  approval  from  the  most  com- 
petent critics.  Moreover,  the  opinions  which  Liebknecht, 
Kautsky,  and  Bernstein  expressed,  according  to  the  anony- 
mous correspondent  of  the  Outlook,  are  so  plausible  and 
reasonable,  according  to  our  view,  that  they  form  the  only 
explanation  which  can  serve  as  an  excuse  for  the  conduct 
of  the  German  Socialists  [the  italics  are  La  Bataille' s].  .  .  . 
We  propose  to  send  the  present  issue  of  La  Bataille  to  the 
Editors  of  the  Outlook,  inviting  them  by  letter  to  give  us 
the  reply  of  their  correspondent  [to  the  alleged  denial  of 
Dr.  Liebknecht  and  his  colleagues].  .  .  .  When  we  have 
received  a  reply  from  New  York,  we  shall  be  able  to  tell 
our  readers  whether  the  correspondent  of  the  Outlook  has 
indulged  in  a  hoax,  or  whether  there  is  some  misunderstand- 
ing regarding  the  meaning  of  the  word  interview.  .  .  . 
We  published  the  three  interviews  because  they  seemed  to 
us  to  exactly  coincide  with  the  actual  facts.  Investigation 
confirms  us  in  our  belief  that  in  several  respects  the 
language  attributed  to  Karl  Liebknecht  by  the  American 
journalist  corresponds,  word  for  word,  with  statements 
which  we  have  read  in  other  places  from  the  pen  of 
Liebknecht  himself.  .  .  .  We  cannot  at  present  regard 
as  satisfactory  the  meager  statement  of  Karl  Liebknecht 
that  the  Outlook  interview  is  contrary  to  his  opinions  and — 
on  certain  points — to  the  facts. 


These  denials  of  the  three  German  Socialists  raise  issues 
far  more  interesting  than  that  of  veracity.  The  issue  of 
veracity,  however,  we  are  ready  to  meet.  The  Outlook 
stands  squarely  behind  the  correspondent  responsible  for 
its  account  of  the  interview  with  the  three  German  So- 

From  this  correspondent  we  have  received  the  following 
statement : 

"  The  interview  with  Liebknecht,  Kautsky,  and  Bern- 
stein, published  in  your  issue  of  January  26,  1916,  took 
place  as  described.  Liebknecht  I  saw  in  the  private  office 
in  which  he  does  his  work  as  a  member  of  the  Reichstag. 
Kautsky  and  Bernstein  I  interviewed  in  a  private  apart- 
ment-house in  Berlin.  The  gentlemen  have  a  right  to 
change  their  minds,  and  of  course  they  may  say  that  the 
interviews  misrepresent  them.  At  the  time  I  wrote  the 
article  I  believed,  and  I  still  believe,  that  it  is  an  accurate 
account  of  what  took  place." 

The  Outlook  withheld  the  name  of  its  correspondent  for 
two  good  and  sufficient  reasons.  The  first  had  reference 
to  the  welfare  of  the  three  Socialists  interviewed;  the  sec- 
ond cannot  be  explained  until  after  the  termination  of  the 
war.  It  should  be  said  here  that  the  interviews  were  not 
published  in  the  Outlook  until  Dr.  Liebknecht's  reported 
utterances  in  the  Reichstag  went  so  far  beyond  those  given 
in  the  text  of  our  interview  with  him  that  we  felt  that  its 
publication  would  not  in  any  way  jeopardize  his  safety. 
That  we  did  not  overestimate  the  possibility  of  personal 
danger  to  Dr.  Liebknecht  arising  from  the  publication  of 
his  views  may  be  judged  by  the  remarks  which  Dr.  Lieb- 
knecht himself  made  to  an  American  university  professor 
of  high  standing.  We  reported  these  remarks  as  follows  in 
our  issue  of  March  29 : 

Dr.  Liebknecht  said  that  the  position  which  he  had  taken 
in  opposition  to  Germany's  action  had  put  him  in  personal 


danger,  so  much  so  that  it  was  not  beyond  the  bounds  of 
possibility  that  he  might  at  any  time  disappear  and  never 
be  heard  of  again.  As  he  said  this  he  significantly  drew 
his  hand  across  his  neck,  and  then  added  that  the  fortunes 
of  an  individual  were  of  no  consequence. 

The  more  interesting  issues  raised  by  the  denials  of  Lieb- 
knecht,  Kautsky,  and  Bernstein  are  clearly  indicated  by 
the  following  quotation  from  La  Bataille: 

One  thing  is  certain:  German  Socialists  of  the  Opposi- 
tion have  not  taken  into  account  the  interest  with  which  the 
entire  world  awaits  what  they  decide  to  say  frankly  and 
without  reservation  on  questions  of  principle  and  tactics, 
and  they  should  not  leave  their  comrades  in  other  countries 
in  doubt  as  to  their  attitude  regarding  the  German  Govern- 
ment and  the  Social  Democratic  majority. 

Although  the  German  Socialists  failed  to  make  them- 
selves felt  on  August  i,  1914,  is  it  still  "  just  and  necessary  " 
(to  use  the  words  attributed  to  Kautsky  and  Bernstein  by 
La  Bataille)  that  their  leaders  fail  to  express  them- 
selves frankly  until  the  end  of  the  war?  Is  it  "just  and 
necessary "  for  their  leaders  to  say  one  thing  in  their 
studies  and  another  thing  in  their  despatches  relayed  to 
us  by  the  Wolff  Telegraphic  Bureau  ? 

Is  it  "  just  and  necessary "  that  they  allow  themselves 
to  be  pictured  as  loyal  supporters  of  the  Government,  or, 
at  worst,  as  harmless  members  of  a  purely  vocal  Oppo- 
sition? Is  it  "just  and  necessary"  for  them  to  dodge 
what  La  Bataille  indicates  is  the  world-wide  interest 
in  their  attitude  regarding  the  German  Government  and 
the  Social  Democratic  majority? 

The  Outlook  agrees  with  La  Bataille  that  the  next 
word  on  these  subjects  belongs  to  Kautsky,  Bernstein, 
and  Liebknecht,  and  wishes  that  it  might  have  a  frank, 
direct,  and  uncensored  expression  of  their  views.  We 
content  ourselves  with  adding  that  our  correspondent,  whose 


interviews  with  the  three  influential  German  Socialists  have 
become  the  subject  of  an  international  discussion,  is  a 
highly  educated  and  thoroughly  trustworthy  American  who 
has  lived  in  Europe  and  is  in  sincere  sympathy  with  inter- 
national Socialism. 


IN  many  of  their  official  dealings  with  the  Belgians  the 
Germans  insisted  on  speaking  the  German  language,  al- 
though many  Belgians  cannot  understand  a  word  of  Ger- 
man, while  the  officers  concerned  practically  all  know 

Belgians  could  send  no  telegrams;  they  could  use  no 
telephones;  they  could  mail  no  letters,  and  they  could  not 
travel  without  buying  a  pass  at  the  German  Pass  Bureaus. 
Belgian  newspapers  were  managed  by  German  agents,  or 
else  were  heavily  censored. 

In  Antwerp  as  a  means  of  restoring  order  and  confidence 
after  the  fall  of  the  city,  the  German  authorities  wisely 
agreed  with  the  municipality  that  if  the  local  newspapers 
would  resume  publication  they  should  be  permitted  to  print 
uncensored  the  official  despatches  of  all  the  belligerents,  and 
that  the  censor  might  excise  but  would  not  add  to  editorial 
or  news  matter.  Five  newspapers  then  appeared.  At  first 
they  were  allowed  to  print  references  to  King  Albert,  Queen 
Elizabeth,  and  the  Belgian  army  and  government;  and  the 
Reuter  official  despatches  regularly  appeared  side  by  side 
with  those  of  the  Wolff  Bureau. 

After  about  a  month,  however,  the  censor  began  to  tamper 
with  the  Reuter  despatches.  Later  he  demanded  that. arti- 
cles dictated  by  the  German  authorities  appear  without  com- 


ment  in  the  Antwerp  press,  and  when  the  five  newspapers 
drew  up  a  formal  complaint  which  they  submitted  to  the 
censor  and  which  he  in  turn  forwarded  to  Brussels,  he 
punished  them  by  suspending  them  for  one  week.  The 
memorandum  requested  that  the  German  authorities  observe 
the  conditions  under  which  the  Antwerp  papers  had  re- 
sumed publication,  but  the  request  was  refused,  and  the 
five  newspapers  ceased  publication. 

The  most  interesting  newspaper  in  Belgium  is  published 
without  the  permission  of  the  Germans,  and  has  puzzled 
and  exasperated  them  to  this  day.  It  is  called  La  Libre 
Belgique,  and  is  printed  and  distributed  to  its  subscribers 
in  spite  of  a  price  of  fifty  thousand  francs  set  upon  the 
head  of  its  editor  or  editors,  and  in  spite  of  unusually 
severe  sentences  imposed  upon  several  of  its  vendors  who 
have  been  caught  in  the  act  of  distributing  it.  Rumor  says 
that  the  paper  is  printed  in  an  obscure  garage  by  means  of 
an  automobile  motor ;  its  price  is  "  elastic — from  zero  to 
infinity,"  and  with  delicious  audacity  it  declares  its  tele- 
graphic address  to  be  "  Kommandantur,  Brussels."  It  ap- 
pears at  irregular  intervals,  but  usually  once  every  week  or 

In  the  Wiertz  Museum  in  Brussels  there  is  a  horrible 
painting  called  "  Napoleon  in  Hell,"  showing  the  Corsican 
haunted  by  the  spirits  of  those  he  had  slain.  After  the 
execution  of  Miss  Edith  Cavell,  La  Libre  Belgique  printed 
a  travesty  of  this  painting  in  which  the  Kaiser's  face  was 
shown  instead  of  Napoleon's,  and  among  the  spirits  haunt- 
ing him  the  figure  of  Miss  Cavell. 

Another  issue  of  La  Libre  Belgique  reproduced  a  cleverly 
patched  photograph  of  Governor-General  von  Bissing  sit- 
ting in  his  private  office,  reading  the  proscribed  journal. 
Beneath  the  picture  was  a  note,  "  Our  dear  Governor,  dis- 
heartened by  reading  the  lies  of  the  censored  newspapers, 
seeks  for  truth  in  La  Libre  Belgique!' 



Reprinted  from  the  first  Annual  Report  of  the  Commis- 
sion for  Relief  in  Belgium,  October  31,  1915. 

IT  appeared  at  the  outset  of  relief  measures  that  not  only 
would  the  destitute  of  Belgium  have  to  be  regarded  as  a 
ward  of  the  world's  charity,  but  that  even  much  of  the  food 
for  the  well-to-do,  owing  to  the  complete  breakdown  of 
Belgian  internal  finance,  would  have  to  be  provided  from 
external  charity.  .  .  .  The  first  financial  activity  of  the 
Relief  Directors  was  therefore  to  set  up  various  economic 
cycles  whereby  food  sold  to  those  who  could  pay  might  be 
interpreted  into  gold  values  abroad.  Ultimately,  approval 
was  obtained  for  the  Commission  to  conduct  exchange  opera- 
tions through  the  belligerent  lines,  and  considerable  amounts 
of  money  owing  to  Belgium  have  been  collected  abroad 
from  individuals,  contra-payment  being  made  in  Belgium 
out  of  paper  moneys  received  from  sales  of  food.  These 
operations  relieve  the  strain  on  the  Commission  income  and 
enable  the  recipient  to  keep  clear  of  charity.  The  total  of 
such  remittances  has  been  £562,740  95.  nd.  from  over 
12,000  different  persons.  The  second  step  of  this  na- 
ture was  to  borrow  certain  sums  from  banks  abroad, 
amounting  to  £600,000,  contra-liability  being  taken  in  Bel- 
gium. The  third  step  was  to  undertake  the  payment  of  con- 
siderable sums  in  Belgium  on  behalf  of  the  Belgian  Govern- 
ment at  Le  Havre.  At  the  time  of  the  occupation,  certain 
sums  were  due  from  the  National  Exchequer  to  various 
institutions;  these  sums  have  now  been  received  by  the 
Commission  from  the  Belgian  Government  and,  in  turn, 
paid  to  the  institutions  concerned  out  of  local  receipts  from 
food  sales. 


While  the  whole  of  these  operations  are  simply  in  the 
nature  of  commercial  exchange,  they  have  an  indirect 
benevolent  aspect,  for  they  not  only  enable  a  large  number 
of  persons  to  subsist  without  charity,  but  also  make  it  pos- 
sible to  reduce  the  general  load  upon  the  Commission  by 
rendering  the  provisioning  of  the  better-to-do  classes  a  com- 
mercial operation  affording  an  incidental  profit  applicable  to 


Reprinted  from  the  Report  of  the  Millers'  Belgian  Relief 
Movement,  conducted  by  the  Northwestern  Miller  through 
its  editor,  William  C.  Edgar,  Minneapolis,  Minn., 

OWING  to  the  fact  that  all  officials  and  directors  and  a 
very  large  proportion  of  the  staff  of  the  Commission  serve 
without  pay,  the  expenses  of  operation  are  incredibly  small, 
and  probably  unparalleled  in  this  respect  by  any  charitable 
organization  in  the  world. 

From  October  22nd  to  March  6th,  during  which  period 
purchases  were  effected  amounting  to  £3,000,000,  the  gen- 
eral expenses  of  the  London  office,  including  cables,  postage, 
salaries,  traveling,  printing,  stationery,  accountants'  and 
auditors'  fees  and  sundries,  were  but  £5,200;  the  expenses 
of  the  Rotterdam  and  Brussels  branches  were  but  a  trifle 
more  than  this  amount. 



Reprinted  from  the  first  Annual  Report  of  the  Commis- 
sion for  Relief  in  Belgium,  October  31, 

THE  chartering  and  management  of  an  entire  fleet  of 
vessels,  together  with  agency  control  practically  throughout 
the  world,  has  been  carried  out  for  the  Commission  quite 
free  of  the  usual  charges  by  large  transportation  firms  who 
offered  these  concessions  in  the  cause  of  humanity.  Banks 
generally  have  given  their  exchange  services  and  have  paid 
the  full  rate  of  interest  on  deposits  ;  insurance  has  been  facili- 
tated by  the  British  Government  Insurance  Commissioners  ; 
and  the  firms  who  fix  the  insurance  have  subscribed  the 
equivalent  of  their  fees.  Harbor  dues  and  port  charges 
have  been  remitted  at  many  points,  and  stevedoring  firms 
have  made  important  concessions  in  rates  and  have  afforded 
other  generous  services.  In  Holland  exemption  from  har- 
bor dues  and  telegraph  tolls  has  been  granted,  and  rail 
transport  into  Belgium  provided  free  of  charge.  The  total 
value  of  these  Dutch  concessions  is  estimated  at  147,824 
guilders.  The  German  military  authorities  in  Belgium 
itself  have  abolished  custom  and  canal  dues  on  all  Com- 
mission imports,  have  reduced  railway  rates  one-half,  and 
on  canals  and  railways  they  give  right-of-way  to  Commis- 
sion foodstuffs  wherever  there  is  need. 


THE  first  supplies   consisted  of  6,000  tons  of  cereals, 
1,000   tons   of   rice,  and   3,000   tons  of  peas   and   beans, 


bought  in  London  by  Millard  Shaler  for  the  account  of 
the  city  of  Brussels.  The  next  consisted  of  cargoes  of 
grain,  lying  in  the  mouth  of  the  Scheldt  at  Ter  Neuzen 
and  belonging  to  Belgians.  These  were  appropriated  by 
the  Commission  and  returned  to  Belgium. 

At  the  same  time  Brussels  secured  a  lot  of  5,000  tons  of 
wheat,  belonging  to  the  provisions  requisitioned  at  Antwerp, 
which  the  Germans  "  loaned "  to  the  Belgian  Committee 
for  milling  and  distribution  in  Brussels,  Charleroi,  Liege, 
and  Verviers.  This  was  on  November  i6th.  Meanwhile 
the  Belgian  appeal  was  spreading  throughout  the  world. 


THE  report  of  the  Commission  for  November,  1914,  shows 
the  ships  "  Coblenz  "  and  "  Iris  "  from  London,  received  at 
Rotterdam  on  the  first  and  second  respectively ;  five  lighters 
of  wheat  from  Hansweert,  received  on  the  second ;  the  ships 
"  Jan  Blockx  I  "  and  "  Tellus  "  from  London,  received  on 
the  ninth;  ten  lighters  of  wheat  and  flour  from  Hansweert 
and  three  lighters  of  wheat  from  Ter  Neuzen,  received  on 
the  ninth ;  the  "  Tremorvah "  from  Halifax  on  the  fif- 
teenth ;  the  "  Gramsbergen  "  from  Liverpool  on  the  eigh- 
teenth ;  the  "  Massapequa  "  from  New  York  on  the  twenty- 
first,  and  the  "  Jan  Blockx  II "  from  London  on  the 
twenty-fourth — a  total  of  26,470  tons  of  food  for  the  first 
month  of  operations,  worth  about  $1,021,267. 



EDUCATED  Flemings  are  bilingual,  like  the  Galileans  of 
Christ's  day.  They  speak  either  French  or  Flemish  with 
equal  fluency,  although  a  guttural  quality  and  local  idioms 
sometimes  disfigure  the  former.  For  political  and  cultural 
reasons  many  of  them  cling  to  their  native  Flemish.  It 
is  the  common  speech :  the  language  of  the  people  of  Flan- 
ders. When  written,  it  is  practically  the  same  as  the  Dutch 
— a  low  Germanic  language — but  the  spoken  language  dif- 
fers from  the  Dutch  in  many  particulars. 

The  Flemish  Movement  is  not  a  separatist  movement, 
as  is  commonly  supposed  in  America.  It  is  a  democratic, 
and  in  my  opinion  a  just  assertion  of  the  predominant  influ- 
ence of  the  Flemish  stock  in  Belgium.  During  the  war  the 
Flemish  Movement  can  have  no  political  significance,  for 
the  Flemings  are  as  loyal  as  any  other  portion  of  the 
people  to  the  ideal  of  a  free  and  united  Belgium. 

To  an  American  ear  the  language  of  Flanders  is  like  Old 
English  resurrected  from  the  tomes.  One  seems  to  hear 
"  Piers  Ploughman  "  all  about  one.  It  is  a  warty,  hard- 
fisted,  tough-muscled  language  which  has  been  out  in  the 
weather  until  it  has  got  well  sunburned ;  a  splendid  language 
for  oratory — and  profanity ! 

Almost  every  place  and  every  thing  in  Flemish  Belgium 
has  two  or  more  names.  Antwerp  is  "  Antwerpen "  in 
Flemish,  "  Anvers "  (please  pronounce  the  final  s)  in 
French.  The  River  Scheldt  is  "  Schelde "  in  Flemish, 
"  1'Escaut  "  in  French.  Mechlin  or  Malines  is  "  Mechelen  " 
in  Flemish,  "Malines"  in  French.  Ghent  is  "Gent"  in 
Flemish,  "  Gand "  in  French.  "  Mons "  is  French,  of 
course,  but  its  Flemish  name  is  "  Bergen." 



Reprinted  from  the  Report  of  the  Commission  for  Relief 
in  Belgium,  June  30,  1915. 

THE  actual  work  of  food  distribution  and  the  care  of  the 
destitute  was  done  entirely  by  the  Belgians.  Twenty-five 
or  thirty  thousand  men  and  women  volunteers  throughout 
the  country  were  engaged  in  this  splendid  task.  In  each 
commune  there  was  a  local  committee,  working  under  the 
direction  of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium  and  the 
National  Relief  Committee;  there  was  a  Provisioning  De- 
partment to  each  of  these  committees,  rationing  and  selling 
the  imported  foodstuffs  to  the  Belgian  population,  who  paid 
either  in  money  or  in  food  checks  given  them  by  the 
Benevolent  Department ;  and  there  was  the  Benevolent  De- 
partment feeding,  clothing,  and  housing  the  destitute,  pro- 
viding medical  attention,  organizing  work  for  the  unem- 
ployed, paying  unemployment  benefits,  and  so  keeping  alive 
and  as  well  as  possible,  2,750,000  unfortunate  men,  women, 
and  children. 

The  total  number  of  persons  in  Belgium  receiving  some 
form  of  relief  it  is  impossible  to  determine.  The  relief 
afforded  through  the  Financial  Relief  Department,  together 
with  the  very  large  and  generous  support  to  workpeople 
being  given  by  employers  in  practically  gratuitous  wage- 
allowances,  and  the  widespread  individual  charity  through- 
out Belgium  save  a  great  number  from  falling  in  the  last 
resort  on  the  Communal  Committees.  Some  insight  into  the 
situation  is  afforded  by  three  examples.  In  the  Capital,  and 
therefore  largely  residential  city  of  Brussels,  prior  to  the 
supplemental  grants,  between  8,000,000  and  9,000,000  ra- 
tions were  served  monthly  from  the  Canteens,  indicating 



from  25  per  cent  to  30  per  cent  of  the  population  as  being 
thus  directly  relieved.  The  numbers  who  are  saved  from 
this  form  of  relief  through  the  operations  of  the  indirect 
services  and  the  large  amount  of  personal  charity,  it  is 
impossible  to  estimate.  In  the  province  of  Liege,  a  typical 
industrial  section,  out  of  a  population  of  about  900,000  there 
are  some  450,000  persons,  or  about  50  per  cent,  being 
assisted  by  some  of  the  above  services,  and  there  are  esti- 
mated to  be  40,000  more  who  receive  help  through  other 
agencies  such  as  the  "  Financial  Relief  Department."  A 
typical  agricultural  province  such  as  Luxembourg  shows 
only  about  20  per  cent  of  the  population  dependent  upon 
benevolence.  A  study  of  the  distribution  and  amount  of 
the  "  Allowances "  described  above  indicates  that  about 
700,000  families  are  receiving  this  form  of  assistance.  Alto- 
gether this  category,  together  with  those  wholly  supported 
on  the  Canteens,  would  be  estimated  on  the  low  side  at 
2,750,000  persons.  To  this  must  be  added  a  further  500,- 
ooo  who  are  saved  from  the  care  of  the  Local  Committees 
through  the  operations  of  Financial  Relief  measures.  It 
may  be  repeated  that  many  of  those  being  assisted  still  have 
some  resources  of  their  own — for  instance,  the  general  opera- 
tion of  the  coal  mines  one  day  or  sometimes  two  days  per 
week  might  conceivably  enable  the  worker  himself  to  live, 
but  his  dependents  would  be  helpless. 


Reprinted  from  the  Report  of  the  Commission  for  Relief 
in  Belgium,  June  50,  1915. 

THE  organization  by  which  detailed  distribution  is  accom- 
plished can  best  be  understood  if  it  is  conceived  that  there 


have  been  created  2,500  different  local  committees,  one  in 
each  principal  commune,  which  will  be  referred  to  hereafter 
as  "  The  Communal  Distribution  Committees."  These  com- 
mittees are  in  many  instances  headed  by  the  Burgomaster 
and  embrace  other  communal  officials,  as  well  as  volunteers, 
although  in  some  instances  they  are  entirely  composed  of 
non-official  volunteers.  In  order  to  secure  consolidation  of 
control  and  simplification  of  relations  with  these  multitudi- 
nous committees,  a  federal  system  has  been  set  up,  by  which 
these  Communal  Committees  are  represented  in  Regional 
Committees  and  these  Regional  Committees,  in  turn,  repre- 
sented in  Provincial  Committees.  The  Provincial  Com- 
mittees are  the  principal  centers  of  stimulative  activity  and, 
while  they  have  decided  autonomy  in  provincial  matters, 
questions  which  affect  the  entire  country  are  decided  by 
meetings  of  delegates  from  these  Provincial  Committees, 
and  these  delegates,  together  with  a  small  executive  body, 
comprise  the  working  membership  of  the  Comite  National. 
The  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium  forms,  jointly  with 
the  Comite  National,  the  executive  control,  and  it  is  also 
represented  by  delegates  on  the  Provincial  Committees,  and 
the  whole  structure  so  interlinks  that  any  separate  descrip- 
tion of  functions  would  only  tend  to  confuse. 

Apart  from  these  executive  functions,  the  Commission  is 
itself  charged  separately  with  the  international  guarantees 
and  the  elaborate  stipulations  contained  therein,  which 
necessitate  that  the  foodstuffs  shall  remain  in  the  possession 
of  the  Commission,  and  the  control  of  the  transportation 
and  warehouses  thus  falls  on  its  members.  Furthermore, 
the  Commission  is  under  international  obligation  to  main- 
tain rigid  justice  in  distribution. 



The  Northwestern  Miller,  an  admirable  trade  paper, 
solicited  from  its  clients,  through  its  editor,  William  C. 
Edgar,  of  Minneapolis,  a  cargo  of  275,500  sacks  of  flour, 
beans,  peas,  oatmeal,  and  barley,  valued  at  about  $510,000. 
Mr.  Edgar  personally  accompanied  the  Millers'  Ship  to 
Rotterdam  and  then  came  into  Belgium  to  oversee  the 
distribution  of  the  gifts.  He  has  recorded  his  satisfaction 
with  the  work  of  the  Commission  in  his  report  to  his  clients, 
entitled  "  The  Millers'  Belgian  Relief  Movement,"  Minne- 
apolis, 1915. 


THROUGHOUT  Belgium  the  priest  is  an  important  character. 
A  few  of  the  cities  and  most  of  the  towns  are  Catholic,  and 
the  priest  is  a  political  and  social  as  well  as  a  religious 
director.  In  the  towns  and  villages  he  is  often  more  im- 
portant than  the  Burgomaster.  He  is  accustomed  to  relieve 
distress,  and  in  the  volunteer  organizations  through  which 
the  work  of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium  is  done 
the  parish  priest  and  the  whole  Catholic  hierarchy,  with  the 
Cardinal-Archbishop  at  their  head,  are  most  important  ele- 



UNDER  the  symbol  lay  an  ocean  of  feeling  deep  as  life 
itself.  Belgium  had  always  been  hospitable  to  the  Ger- 
mans. Antwerp  before  the  war  might  almost  have  been 
called  a  German  port.  The  German  school  was  the  best 
school  in  the  city;  German  society  there  was  considered  as 
good  as  Belgian  society;  the  German  Lutheran  Church  was 
supported  by  practically  all  Belgians  who  were  not  Roman 
Catholics;  throughout  Belgium,  German  was  a  legal  lan- 
guage, on  a  par  with  French  and  Flemish,  and  if  one  de- 
sired one  could  require  that  a  case  at  law  be  tried  in  Ger- 
man. In  the  eastern  parts  of  Belgium  were  thousands  of 
Belgian  citizens  who  spoke  no  language  but  German.  In 
the  province  of  Antwerp  some  fifteen  thousand  residents 
were  recorded  as  speaking  only  German.  Belgians  admired 
German  efficiency.  They  felt  a  certain  contempt  for  repub- 
lican France;  they  thought  her  effete  and  irreligious.  The 
Catholics  were  especially  severe  on  their  republican  neigh- 
bors to  the  south,  and  it  should  not  be  forgotten  that  when 
the  Germans  demanded  the  right  to  send  their  armies  down 
the  Meuse  there  were  not  lacking  one  or  two  Catholic 
politicians  who  felt  that  the  country  should  give  in  and 
should  permit  the  invasion  with  a  formal  protest. 


ART  played  a  subordinate  part  in  the  work  of  the  Antwerp 
committees,  except  in  the  Canton  of  Moll.  There  it  reigned 
supreme.  The  president  of  the  Cantonal  Committee — Moll  is 


the  largest  Canton  in  Belgium — was  Jakob  Smits.  German 
generals,  who  admired  Smits  as  an  artist,  gave  him  privileges 
enjoyed  by  few  other  Belgian  citizens.  At  one  time  he 
appeared  to  be  free  to  go  and  come  from  Holland  when  he 
chose,  and  in  Holland,  as  in  Belgium,  he  received  unusual 
consideration.  At  the  instance  of  Mr.  Louis  Franck,  Mr. 
Smits  frequently  wrung  concessions  for  imports  from  the 
Dutch  Foreign  Office,  such  as  no  one  else  could  obtain. 

The  Dutch  Minister  of  Commerce  and  Labor  was  a 
friend  of  Smits.  On  one  occasion,  I  am  told,  the  artist 
presented  himself  before  the  Minister  and  demanded  the 
right  to  buy  in  Holland  a  quantity  of  flour  and  various 
cattle  foods,  the  export  of  which  at  that  time  was  pro- 
hibited by  the  Dutch.  The  Minister  politely  refused.  Smits 
persisted.  The  Minister  was  obdurate.  Smits  argued.  The 
Minister  regretted,  but  could  make  no  exception.  Smits 
stormed.  "  I  will  kill  myself,"  he  shouted,  "  if  you  do  not 
give  me  that  permission  at  once !  I  will  kill  myself  here  in 
your  private  office !  My  blood  will  flow  on  your  carpet ! 
Here !  Now  !  "  The  Minister,  knowing  that  he  was  dealing 
with  an  artist,  surrendered,  and  Smits  got  the  permission. 

His  returns  from  Holland  were  always  in  the  nature  of 
triumphal  entries,  and  the  Canton  of  Moll  waxed  fat. 


FIFTEEN  soup  kitchens  were  feeding  the  poor  from  sup- 
plies laid  up  in  anticipation  of  the  siege.  Ten  local  com- 
mittees in  the  greater  city  were  distributing  assistance  in 
kind  to  necessitous  Belgians  who  had  never  been  inscribed 
at  the  official  Bureau  of  Charities  (le  Bureau  de  Bienfai- 
sance).  Private  charity  had  established  cheap  restaurants, 


where  good  food  could  be  got  at  low  prices.  There  was 
an  incorporated  bank  for  loans  with  a  capital  of  250,000 
francs,  in  response  to  the  imperative  demands  of  small 
tradespeople.  The  Civil  Volunteers,  for  the  assistance  of 
the  families  of  soldiers  who  had  fought  and  died  for  the 
country,  had  assisted  about  5,000  families.  Side  by  side 
with  these  newer  charities  were  the  older  homes,  refuges, 
and  hospitals,  enlarged  to  care  for  the  floods  of  those 
requiring  assistance. 

All  this  work  had  been  in  the  hands  of  the  local  relief 
committees.  Outside  of  the  city  proper,  the  people  of  the 
fortress  had  been  supplied  with  food,  as  long  as  it  lasted, 
and  with  financial  assistance. 

A  special  machinery  had  even  been  set  up  by  the  Belgian 
Government  to  provide  for  the  chaos  which  followed  the 
fall  of  the  city.  While  King  Albert  and  his  ministers  were 
in  Antwerp  they  nominated  an  Intercommunal  Commission, 
consisting  of  the  most  prominent  citizens  of  Antwerp  and 
the  communes  in  the  fortress,  so  that  when  the  city  fell 
there  should  be  a  provisional  Belgian  administration,  in 
addition  to  the  Permanent  Deputation  of  the  Provincial 
Council.  Deputy  Louis  Franck  was  president  of  the  Inter- 
communal  Commission. 


AN  odd  geographical  feature  of  the  arrondissement  of 
Turnhout  is  that  it  has  an  enclave  in  the  Dutch  province 
of  North  Brabant.  This  enclave,  the  commune  of  Bar-le- 
Duc,  is  like  a  Belgian  island  in  a  Dutch  sea,  except  that 
the  sea  is  swampy  Campine — a  compound  of  sand  and 
purple  heather.  The  Germans  cannot  invade  it,  for  to  do 


so  would  be  to  violate  the  neutrality  of  Holland.  So  the 
2,500  inhabitants  of  Bar-le-Duc  fly  the  Belgian  flag,  employ 
Belgian  police  and  guards,  post  letters  at  a  Belgian  post 
office,  and  cheer  for  King  Albert  and  Queen  Elizabeth, 
with  no  fear  of  retaliatory  Zeppelin  raids  or  Uhlan  visits. 


Reprinted  from  the  Report  of  the  Commission  for  Relief 
in  Belgium,  June  30,  1915. 

WITH  the  partial  recovery  from  complete  prostration,  the 
admirable  organizing  and  administrative  powers  of  the  Bel- 
gians themselves  have  recovered  to  vigorous  initiative  and 
executive  action.  Since  October,  local  relief  Committees 
have  been  organized  in  practically  every  commune,  and 
there  has  been  created  over  these  Committees  a  federal  sys- 
tem of  District  and  Provincial  Committees  with  the  Comite 
National  at  the  apex.  The  relation  of  this  structure  to  the 
Commission  per  se  is  one  of  joint  endeavor,  and  the  mem- 
bership of  the  Americans  in  all  these  Committees  entirely 
interlocks  the  organization. 


Reprinted  from  the  Report  of  the  Commission  for  Relief 
in  Belgium,  June  30, 

THE  amount  and  character  of  foodstuffs  required  has 
altered  from  time  to  time,  due  to  the  exhaustion  of  native 


supplies,  or  seasonal  causes,  and  the  monthly  consumption 
now  being  provided  is  as  follows: 


Wheat  (or  equivalent  in  flour) 60,000 

Maize 20,000 

Rice 7,500 

Peas  and  beans 4,000 

Bacon  and  lard 6,000 


The  approximate  cost  is  about  $7,500,000  per  month  for 
Belgium  alone. 

Reprinted  from  the  first  Annual  Report  of  the  Commis- 
sion for  Relief  in  Belgium,  October  31,  1915. 

The  total,  in  metric  tons,  of  commodities  delivered  dur- 
ing the  year  was: 

Purchased  Gifts  in  Kind    Totals 

Wheat    508,112  23,166  SS1^^ 

Flour   108,575  45>346  I53.92i 

Maize 1 10,487  8,744  1 19,231 

Rice   72,594  2,406  75.000 

Beans  and  peas  28,758  3,652  32,410 

Bacon,  lard,  and  meat 29,149  837  29,986 

Potatoes 14,943  3,415  18,358 

Sundries    17^59  8,186  25,345 

Clothing  and  miscellaneous  .  775  2,548  3>323 

Totals  890,552        98,300        988,852 

The  above  contains  a  total  of  121,136  tons  shipped  to 
northern  France,  and  stocks  in  Rotterdam  on  October  3ist. 



AN  interesting  inter-provincial  trade  was  the  purchase 
by  Mr.  Edouard  Bunge,  on  behalf  of  the  National  Relief 
Committee,  of  a  large  stock  of  valorization  coffee  lying  in 
warehouses  at  Antwerp.  This  coffee  was  the  property  of 
the  Brazilian  state  of  Sao  Paulo.  Through  a  representative 
of  the  Government  of  Brazil  permission  was  secured  from 
the  German  authorities  to  release  the  coffee  to  the  Belgian 
Committees,  and  accordingly  it  was  apportioned  among 
the  nine  Provincial  Committees. 


THE  idea  of  a  co-operative  society  is  typically  Belgian. 
The  Socialist  co-operative  experiments  of  a  quarter  of  a 
century  ago,  notably  "  La  Maison  du  Peuple  "  in  Brussels 
an  1  "  Vooruit "  in  Ghent,  have  had  countless  imitators. 
But  political  lines  of  cleavage  are  always  observed,  so  that 
in  Antwerp,  for  example,  we  had  Socialist,  Liberal,  and 
Catholic  co-operative  bakeries. 

J.  Seebohm  Rowntree  has  an  interesting  chapter  on  Bel- 
gian co-operatives  in  his  book  Land  and  Labor,  published 
by  Macmillan,  London,  1910. 

In  my  opinion  this  book  is  the  most  adequate  account 
in  English  of  Belgian  industrial  and  social  conditions  before 
the  war. 



ITS  first  patrons  were  the  American  Minister,  Mr.  Brand 
Whitlock,  and  the  Spanish  Minister,  the  Marquis  of  Vil- 
lalobar.  In  April,  1915,  Jonkheer  de  Weede,  Dutch  Minister 
at  Havre,  became  a  patron  of  the  Committee.  Its  president 
is  Ernest  Solvay;  vice-presidents,  Jean  Jadot  and  L.  van 
der  Rest;  members,  Count  Cicogna,  Baron  Coppee,  P. 
Dansette,  Chevalier  de  Bauer,  G.  de  Laveleye,  Count  Jean 
de  Merode,  "fimile  Francqui,  Baron  A.  Goffinet,  Baron 
Janssen,  Emmanuel  Janssen,  Baron  Lambert,  Alfred  Orban, 
L.  Cousin,  Louis  Solvay,  Josse  Allard,  F.  M.  Philippson, 
General  Thys;  two  American  citizens  resident  in  Brussels 
• — D.  Heineman  and  W.  Hulse;  and  secretaries  E.  van 
Elewyck  and  F.  van  Bree.  The  presidents  and  vice-presi- 
dents of  the  Provincial  Committees  make  part  of  the  Na- 
tional Committee. 

The  Executive  Committee  consists  of  Emile  Francqui, 
president;  Josse  Allard,  Count  Cicogna,  L.  Cousin,  Cheva- 
lier de  Wouters  d'Oplinter,  D.  Heineman,  W.  Hulse, 
Emmanuel  Janssen,  Michel  Levie,  Louis  Solvay,  and  secre- 
taries E.  van  Elewyck  and  F.  van  Bree. 

The  National  Committee  and  the  Provincial  Committees 
are  divided  into  two  departments,  a  commercial  depart- 
ment (d' Alimentation)  and  a  benevolent  department  (de 
Secours).  Under  the  benevolent  department  are  five  im- 
portant divisions:  to  provide  I,  Money;  2,  Food;  3,  Cloth- 
ing and  Shoes;  4,  Work;  5,  Houses  and  other  buildings. 
There  are  committees  for  the  Aid  and  Protection  of 
Refugees,  the  Aid  and  Protection  of  Families  of  Officers 
and  Under-Officers  Deprived  of  their  Income  by  reason  of 
the  War,  Aid  and  Protection  of  Belgian  Doctors  and  Phar- 
macists, Aid  and  Protection  of  Artists,  Aid  and  Protection 


of  Children  and  Orphans  of  War,  Aid  and  Protection  of 
the  Homeless,  Aid  and  Protection  of  Damaged  Churches, 
Aid  and  Protection  of  the  Unemployed,  Aid  and  Protection 
of  Foreigners,  Aid  and  Protection  of  Lace  Makers,  a  spe- 
cial Commission  for  Temporary  Houses  and  the  Work  of 
Reconstruction,  a  Belgian  Commission  for  Information  for 
Prisoners  of  War  and  the  Interned,  a  Central  Committee 
for  the  Aid  of  Invalids  of  War,  a  Canteen  for  Prisoners  of 
War,  and  a  Belgian  National  League  against  Tuberculosis. 
The  Belgian  National  Committee  is  patron  of  all  these 
channels  for  charity. 


THE  contribution  of  war — $96,000,000  per  year — is  levied 
on  Belgium  through  the  Permanent  Deputations  of  the 
Provincial  Councils.  It  is  not  paid  in  gold,  but  in  paper, 
for  there  is  no  gold. 

It  is  interesting  to  note  in  this  connection  that  the  total 
Belgian  budget  in  peace  time  is  from  $120,000,000  to  $160,- 
000,000  per  year. 


WITH  the  conclusion  of  peace,  the  final  adjustment  of  the 
foregoing  financial  operations  is  fairly  simple.  The  sums 
borrowed  by  the  provincial  authorities  from  the  Societe 
Generate,  and  by  the  individual  municipalities,  will  be  repaid 
in  the  restored  currency  of  the  National  Bank  of  Belgium, 


while  the  Belgian  Government  will  probably  take  over  and 
redeem  the  Societe  Gener ale's  currency,  since  the  Societt 
will  have  to  be  regarded  as  having  acted  for  the  Belgian 
Government  in  its  absence. 

But  the  fiat  money  of  the  Societe  Generate  bears  no  re- 
lation to  the  sums  expended  abroad  each  month  by  the 
Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium  on  behalf  of  the  Bel- 
gian people.  In  the  report  of  the  Commission  for  June 
30,  1915,  Mr.  Hoover  writes: 

"  The  purchase  of  foodstuffs  abroad  must  necessarily  be 
made  with  gold,  or  gold  value,  and  these  foodstuffs  when 
re-sold  in  Belgium  are  paid  for  in  local  paper  money.  All 
metallic  money  and  gold  reserves  have  disappeared  in  Bel- 
gium, and  these  local  emergency  currencies  issued  by  bank- 
ing houses,  municipalities,  &c.,  are  obviously  inconvertible 
into  gold.  Moreover,  the  import  of  these  notes  through  the 
Allied  lines  is  prohibited,  and  the  export  of  any  form  of 
securities  from  Belgium  is  also  prohibited.  If  there  were  no 
economic  or  legal  restrictions  on  exchange,  the  Provisioning 
Department,  with  a  moderate  working  capital,  would  revolve 
upon  itself.  As  it  stands,  however,  not  only  has  the  cur- 
rency received  in  Belgium  to  be  interpreted  into  gold,  but 
also  it  must  be  returned  to  circulation  in  Belgium,  otherwise 
a  large  part  of  the  circulating  media  would  be  absorbed  by 
the  Provisioning  Department,  and  a  further  cause  of  dis- 
tress added  to  the  many  already  existing.  From  the  outset, 
the  organization  has  accepted  all  forms  of  currency  at  the 
gold  value  of  the  Belgian  franc,  interpreted  into  dollars  or 
sterling.  These  various  paper  moneys  are  therefore  given 
stability  and  circulation  throughout  the  country.  The  rate 
of  exchange  fixed  has  been  at  Frs.  25.40  to  the  i  sterling. 
Belgian  exchange  is  to-day  quoted  in  the  neutral  markets 
of  Holland  at  a  ratio  which  would  be  equivalent  to  about 
25  per  cent  depreciation  of  Belgian  money.  The  Com- 


mission,  however,  has  believed  that  if  they  were  to  follow 
any  other  course  than  to  maintain  the  gold  value  it  would 
again  add  infinitely  to  the  misery  in  the  country,  because  it 
would  be  necessary  to  advance  the  price  of  foodstuffs  as 
the  exchange  rose,  and  there  is  no  corresponding  ameliora- 
tion in  wages,  income,  or  other  economic  balances  in  Bel- 


Reprinted  from  the  Report  of  the  Commission  for  Relief 
in  Belgium,  June  30,  1915. 

THE  bulk  of  the  Commission's  imports  of  breadstuffs 
have  been  in  the  form  of  wheat  and  maize.  Considerable 
latitude  is  exercised  by  the  Provincial  Committees  in  the 
manner  in  which  flour  is  prepared  in  the  mills.  Until  re- 
cently it  has  been  the  general  practice  to  mill  wheat  into 
flour  containing  90  per  cent  of  the  whole,  the  remaining 
10  per  cent  of  bran  being  sold  for  fodder.  Gradually  the 
various  Provincial  Committees  are  adopting  the  Commis- 
sion's recommendation  of  80  per  cent  milling,  and  some 
Provincial  Committees  have  milled  from  10  to  12  per  cent 
of  maize  with  the  wheat,  or  have  availed  themselves  of 
supplies  of  American  corn-meal  to  produce  such  a  mixture. 
In  certain  cases  the  pure  wheat  flour  imported  has  been 
mixed  with  the  flour  produced  as  above.  Much  discussion 
has  taken  place  as  to  the  effect  upon  the  population  of  bread 
produced  by  this  high  percentage  of  milling,  but  a  careful 
study  fails  to  detect  any  deleterious  results.  Wide  differ- 
ences of  opinion  have  existed  in  Belgium  as  well  as  abroad 
as  to  the  economics  of  importing  wheat  flour  as  distin- 


guished  from  wheat.  In  certain  sections  milling  facilities 
have  not  been  available,  and  there  has  therefore  been  no 
question  as  to  the  necessity  of  importing  white  flour. 
Furthermore,  certain  sections  are  destitute  of  foodstuff 
for  cattle,  and  prefer  to  receive  wheat  in  order  that  they 
may  have  the  by-product.  The  difference  in  food-value  in 
bread  from  wheat  milled  to  90  per  cent,  as  distinguished 
from  the  ordinary  milling  of  about  70  per  cent  to  75  per 
cent,  does  not  seem  to  have  been  sufficient  to  warrant  the 
difference  in  the  cost  of  the  two  products.  The  occupa- 
tion given  to  Belgian  mills  and  their  workmen  and  the 
useful  production  of  fodder  are  all  factors  which  have  to 
be  weighed.  Moreover,  experience  in  baking  has  enabled 
an  improvement  to  be  made  in  the  quality  of  the  bread, 
and  there  is  now  a  general  consensus  of  opinion  in  Belgium 
that  the  import  of  wheat  is  more  economical  and  advisable 
than  that  of  flour. 


Reprinted  from  the  Report  of  the  Commission  for  Relief 
in  Belgium,  June  30, 

THE  method  of  the  detailed  distribution  of  breadstuffs 
varies  in  different  provinces.  Originally  the  Communal 
Committees  issued  the  flour  from  their  communal  ware- 
houses to  accredited  bakers,  and  these  bakers  were  required 
to  submit  lists  of  customers  for  approval  to  the  Communal 
Committee,  who  then  issued  supplies  on  a  ratio  per  capita 
of  the  bakers'  customers.  The  per  capita  allowance  of 
flour  has  usually  been  at  the  rate  of  250  grammes  per 
customer,  and  from  this  amount  a  baker  in  turn  normally 


produces  325  grammes  of  bread,  a  differential  being  made 
to  the  baker  between  the  charge  made  to  him  for  the  flour 
and  the  price  at  which  he  sells  the  bread,  sufficient  to  cover 
the  necessary  cost  of  his  subsidiary  constituents  and  the  em- 
ployment of  his  labor.  Latterly  a  system  has  been  proposed 
by  the  Commission,  and  is  now  in  use  in  several  Belgium 
provinces,  by  which  the  local  Committees  deliver  the  flour 
to  bakers  under  contracts  which  provide  that  1.35  kilos  of 
good  bread  must  be  produced  from  i  kilo  of  flour,  the  baker 
being  paid  8  centimes  per  kilo  for  baking  the  flour.  The 
bakers,  in  this  case,  deliver  the  bread  to  an  established 
depot,  and  each  family  must  secure  their  bread  from  the 
nearest  sectional  depot.  There  is  thus  a  better  check  on  the 
baker  as  to  quantity  delivered,  and  a  better  guarantee  of 
quality.  The  adult  ration  is,  as  before,  325  grammes  of 
bread  per  diem. 


THE  soup  was  made  from  recipes  furnished  by  the  city, 
with  the  following  as  a  standard  base,  for  2,000  persons: 

100  kilograms  peas  or  beans 

^/2       "         bacon 

5  leeks 

150  potatoes 

5  onions 



Reprinted  from  the  Report  of  the  Commission  for  Relief 
in  Belgium,  June  30,  1915. 

As  described  under  the  Provisioning  Department  it  be- 
came necessary,  as  an  administrative  measure,  to  sell  all 
gift  food,  which  thus  falls  into  the  general  stream  of  sup- 
plies to  the  Provisioning  Department.  The  moneys  realized 
therefor  are  handed  over  to  the  Benevolent  Department, 
and  from  that  department  are  given  out  to  the  Local  Com- 
mittees in  the  form  of  cash  subsidies,  to  enable  them  to 
purchase  foodstuffs  from  the  general  stream  for  supply 
to  the  local  destitute.  Initially,  upon  the  formation  of  the 
Commission,  it  was  intended,  and  an  effort  was  made,  to 
distribute  the  actual  food  so  generously  contributed  into 
the  hands  of  these  Communal  Committees  throughout  Bel- 
gium, in  order  that  they  might  in  turn  distribute  the  actual 
gifts  direct  to  the  destitute.  It  was  quickly  found  that, 
from  the  enormous  size  of  the  problem,  this  was  wholly 
impracticable  as  a  matter  of  administration.  The  gifts  in 
actual  food  were  of  irregular  character  and  irregular  ar- 
rival, and  any  given  canteen  dependent  on  this  source  might 
be  supplied  with  an  ample  amount  of  flour  one  week  and 
the  next  week  have  to  subsist  on  beans.  Furthermore, 
the  distribution  of  an  actual  gift  cargo  throughout  some 
2,500  different  communes  would  involve  a  complete  dupli- 
cation of  the  system  of  transportation  alongside  the  dis- 
tribution of  foods  provided  for  sale  to  those  who  had 
means  to  pay.  In  any  event,  these  irregular  gifts  must  be 
supplemented  by  purchases,  and  innumerable  difficul- 
ties arose  over  the  inability  to  adjust  gifts  to  actual 
and  particular  necessities.  Furthermore,  large  quantities 


of  the  material  given  was  of  the  order  of  luxuries  from  a 
Belgian  point  of  view  and  had  less  food  value  than  its 
realization  by  sale  to  the  wealthier  classes  would  produce  in 
other  commodities.  With  the  confrontation  of  all  these  diffi- 
culties the  direct  delivery  of  such  charity  could  only  be 
done  either  by  a  radical  change  in  policy  or  a  very  extended 
and  costly  administration.  It  was  therefore  determined 
that  all  gift  food  should,  as  stated  above,  be  turned  into 
cash  and  the  cash  given  to  the  Communal  Relief  Com- 
mittees as  subsidies.  The  prices  at  which  this  food  has 
been  purchased  by  the  Provisioning  Department  have  been 
determined  on  the  basis  of  the  replacement  value  of  such 
foodstuffs  at  the  time  they  were  given  to  the  Commission. 
No  deduction  for  administration  or  expenses  are  made  from 
any  gifts.  This  operation  can  be  expressed  from  an 
economic  point  of  view  as  follows : — All  sections  of  the 
population  must  be  fed,  and  as  it  is  socially  wrong  to  give 
food  to  any  who  can  pay,  therefore,  if  one  hundred  sacks 
of  flour  are  a  gift  to  the  Commission,  then  roughly,  as  25 
per  cent  of  the  population  is  destitute,  twenty-five  of  these 
sacks  will  be  consumed  by  the  destitute.  Seventy-five  will 
be  sold  at  a  profit  and  more  than  seventy-five  sacks  bought, 
of  which  in  turn  the  same  proportion  will  be  consumed  by 
the  destitute  and  the  balance  will  be  sold,  and  the  gift  con- 
tinues to  revolve,  with  accretions  from  the  more  well-to- 
do,  until  it  is  all  absorbed  by  the  destitute. 

It  has  been  believed  by  the  Commission  that  an  under- 
standing of  this  arrangement  by  intelligent  people  could 
not  give  rise  to  any  remarks  other  than  those  of  com- 



EARLY  in  the  spring  we  opened  an  "  American  Shop  " 
for  the  sale  of  Commission  merchandise,  at  number  51  rue 
du  Jardin  des  Arbaletriers.  Miscellaneous  products  had 
accumulated  in  our  warehouses,  and  we  had  no  adequate 
means  for  distributing  them.  Some  of  them  were  staples, 
such  as  oatmeal,  but  most  of  them  were  luxuries,  fine 
canned  goods,  candies,  chocolate,  crackers,  cakes,  and 
other  things  which  we  could  sell  at  a  good  price  and  the 
profits  from  which  we  could  turn  into  the  benevolent 

The  opening  of  the  shop  was  made  a  formal  event, 
solemnized  with  toasts  drunk  in  wine  and  with  kindly 
addresses  in  Flemish  and  in  English  by  the  Burgomaster 
of  the  city  of  Antwerp.  The  little  shop  was  overcrowded 
from  its  beginning.  Two  kinds  of  goods  were  sold  there: 
a  few  staples,  such  as  rice,  corn-meal  and  oatmeal,  and 
the  de  luxe  products  which  I  have  mentioned.  Only  limited 
quantities  of  staple  articles  could  be  purchased  by  any  one 
buyer;  sales  to  any  but  Belgian  civilians  were  prohibited, 
and  a  private  detective  ran  down  suspicious  cases.  The 
personnel  of  the  shop  was  part  paid  and  part  volunteer, 
so  that  little  expense  was  attached  to  it,  and  the  things 
sold  were  practically  all  to  the  profit  of  the  benevolent 
department.  On  the  first  day  they  amounted  to  600  francs, 
the  second  day  800,  the  third  day  1,400,  and  from  that  they 
climbed  to  a  sum  between  3,000  and  4,000  francs  daily. 

A  second  shop  was  opened  in  the  rue  Albert  Grisar  for 
the  sale  of  meat  and  lard  imported  by  the  Commission. 
This  was  a  greater  success  even  than  the  first,  but  long 
crowds  stood  waiting  their  turn  day  after  day,  until  we 
were  compelled  to  rearrange  our  distribution  and  to  ask 


the  city  authorities  to  distribute  both  meat  and  groceries 
through  little  neighborhood  shops  and  to  check  all  sales  by 
a  card  system  similar  to  that  employed  in  our  distribution 
of  flour  and  bread. 


A  COMMITTEE  of  Belgian  ladies,  under  the  able  direction 
of  Madame  Alphonse  de  Montigny  de  Wael,  Madame 
Robert  Osterrieth-Lippens,  and  Countess  van  de  Werve  de 
Vorsselaere,  had  bought  up  the  dry-goods  supplies  still  in 
Antwerp  and  opened  a  workshop  in  the  theater  Folies 
Bergeres  where  clothing  might  be  made  and  repaired.  This 
ouvoir  became  a  Commission  station,  and  the  gift  clothing 
was  sent  directly  from  the  docks  to  the  workshop. 

The  city  of  Antwerp  at  first  granted  the  ouvoir  a 
monthly  subsidy  of  50,000  francs.  Later  the  National  Com- 
mittee assumed  charge  of  its  finances,  and  the  workshop 
was  transferred  from  the  theater  to  the  magnificent  sym- 
phony hall  on  the  rue  d'Arenberg,  belonging  to  the  Societe 
royale  d'Harmonie.  There  was  a  similar  but  larger  ouvoir 
in  Brussels  at  the  Pole  Nord,  under  direction  of  Madame 
F.  M.  Philippson. 

The  stage  of  the  Antwerp  Harmonic  was  piled  with 
boxes  of  goods.  Galleries  and  pit  were  spread  with  rows 
of  sewing  machines  and  work  tables,  and  the  cloak  room 
was  transformed  into  a  steam  and  sulphur  disinfecting 
bath,  where  all  materials,  new  and  old,  were  taken  apart 
and  thoroughly  cleansed.  Nine  hundred  girls  and  young 
women  worked  under  supervision  in  the  warm,  well-lighted 
hall,  while  about  three  thousand  older  women  were  given 
sewing  to  do  at  home.  A  group  of  cobblers  in  the  hall 
made  and  repaired  shoes.  All  these  workers  were  paid. 


From  the  central  workshop,  made  goods  and  unmade 
materials  were  sent  throughout  the  Province;  the  latter  to 
sewing  circles  in  the  villages  and  towns. 

In  the  Harmonle  the  girls  were  encouraged  to  sing  at 
their  work.  One  afternoon  each  week  a  singing  teacher 
came  and  gave  them  lessons  in  the  songs  of  their  country. 
On  the  occasions  of  our  inspection  trips,  the  great  organ 
behind  the  piles  of  boxes  on  the  stage  pealed  a  sonorous 
welcome,  and  the  sempstresses  sang  us  the  thrilling  "  Lion 
of  Flanders,"  the  "  Brabangonne,"  and  once  they  greeted 
us  with  a  verse  of  the  "  Star  Spangled  Banner." 

Except  for  this  there  was  no  singing  in  public.  Belgian 
anthems  were  under  the  German  ban,  and  war  songs 
especially  were  proscribed.  Children  alone,  being  privileged 
characters,  chirruped  about  as  they  pleased,  and  occasion- 
ally one  caught  a  strange  reminiscent  echo  of  a  familiar 

Once  it  was  the  tune  of  "  Tipperary,"  but  the  words 
were  new.  A  child,  who  had  learned  them  from  the  British 
Tommies  in  Antwerp  during  the  siege,  wrote  them  down 
for  me.  At  first  I  could  make  nothing  of  them,  but  care- 
ful study  and  enunciation  a  la  flamande,  and  one  has  the 
famous  chorus  beginning,  "  It's  a  long  way  to  Tipperary  " : 

'Ts  se  lorn  wee  ti  parerie, 

'Ts  se  lorn  wee  du  koo, 

'Ts  se  lorn  wee  tu  parries, 

Tot  te  zwede  ke  reino. 

Dubei  pikatilie,   waarrie   leskwee. 

'Ts  se  lorn  lorn  wee  peti  pare, 

Het  myn  sklatel. 



As  early  as  January,  1915,  the  National  Relief  Com- 
mittee began  an  investigation  of  the  damage  to  Belgian 
property  caused  by  the  invasion  of  the  Germans,  but  the 
work  was  abruptly  stopped  by  the  military  authorities,  and 
the  Committee  was  informed  that  such  an  investigation 
lay  solely  in  the  province  of  the  occupying  power. 

Shelters,  however,  had  to  be  built,  even  if  there  could 
be  no  general  investigation  of  the  extent  of  the  damage. 
Belgian  military  engineers  had  done  vast  damage  in  put- 
ting the  land  in  a  condition  for  defense.  This  was  parti- 
cularly the  case  about  the  fortress  of  Antwerp,  where  be- 
fore the  siege  began,  two  wide  belts  of  country  were 
cleared  of  forests,  bushes,  and  dwellings,  and  where  the 
dykes  had  been  cut  to  flood  the  low  lands.  Magnificent 
castles  and  country  houses  were  made  heaps  of  ruins; 
barbed  wire  entanglements  and  trenches  cut  through  the  sites 
of  hundreds  of  farm-houses,  and  in  springtime  bloody 
waves  of  poppies,  mixed  with  blue  corn-flowers,  flowed 
over  and  under  the  abandoned  defenses,  or  littered  with 
beauty  what  once  were  shaven  lawns. 

The  ruin  caused  by  German  artillery  and  incendiaries 
still  further  intensified  the  problem  of  housing.  Hundreds 
of  towns  in  Belgium  and  thousands  of  isolated  homesteads 
all  over  the  land  had  been  burned  and  battered  by  the 
invaders.  In  the  villages  and  towns  of  the  province  of 
Antwerp — not  counting  the  cities  of  Antwerp  and  M alines 
— 4,456  houses  were  completely  destroyed,  and  1,938  were 
greatly  damaged,  so  that  at  least  18,000  villagers  were 

The  communes  most  affected  were  those  along  the  outer 
ring  of  fortifications,  such  as  Cruybeke,  Tamise,  Bornhem, 


Puers,  Liezele,  Breendonck,  Thisselt,  Willebroeck,  Blaes- 
velt,  Waelhem,  Duffel,  Wavre-Sainte-Catherine,  Koning- 
shoyckt,  Lierre,  Kessel,  and  Schilde.  Some  villages  had 
been  annihilated.  Not  even  a  cat  remained. 

By  springtime  the  need  was  intense.  In  defiance  of  all 
the  laws  of  hygiene,  and  in  most  dangerous  promiscuity, 
returning  refugees  housed  themselves  in  stables  with  the 
animals,  in  cellar  pits,  or  in  the  lee  of  old  walls. 

The  Provincial  Committee,  therefore,  set  aside  funds  for 
the  repair  or  reconstruction  of  such  houses  as  could 
be  rendered  habitable,  in  whole  or  in  part,  and  the  con- 
struction of  temporary  houses.  Requests  for  such  construc- 
tions were  received  through  the  local  relief  committees, 
and  if  approved,  a  commission  consisting  of  three  archi- 
tects and  a  sanitary  engineer  planned  the  house  and  pro- 
vided the  estimates.  The  structures  were  single  or  group 
houses,  or  communal  barracks.  In  a  few  towns  and  vil- 
ages  the  commission  approved  the  construction  of  small 
shops  for  retail  marketing. 

Brick  for  the  walls  and  thick  paper  for  the  partitions 
were  the  materials  commonly  used,  since  both  could  be 
employed  after  the  war  in  the  construction  of  the  perma- 
nent building.  Often  it  was  possible  to  use  part  of  the 
bricks  from  the  original  building,  and  sometimes  the  old 
foundations  and  cellar. 

Labor  and  oversight  were  provided  by  the  local  relief 
committee.  The  terrible  state  of  unemployment  made 
such  labor  as  this  a  veritable  godsend. 

The  use  of  the  ground  was  given  to  the  Provincial  Com- 
mittee by  the  proprietor  or  the  communal  authorities. 
The  temporary  house  remained  the  legal  property  of  the 
Committee,  and  was  liable  to  destruction  on  orders  of  the 
military  authorities,  the  State,  or  the  province.  The  oc- 
cupant paid  the  Committee  a  rental  of  five  per  cent,  of  the 
cost,  or,  if  indigent,  he  paid  nothing.  After  the  war,  when 


the  permanent  structure  is  begun,  the  proprietor  has  the 
right  to  buy  of  the  Committee  all  the  materials  used  in  the 
temporary  structure,  and  the  materials  on  the  ground  are 
the  property  of  the  proprietor  and  not  of  the  Committee. 

The  cost  of  these  temporary  houses  is  remarkably  low. 
Single  structures  run  from  500  to  600  francs;  groups  of 
houses,  from  1,200  to  1,705  francs.  Repairs  of  damaged 
houses  are  made,  as  a  rule,  at  a  cost  of  less  than  250 
francs,  on  a  basis  of  40  francs  per  person. 


MUCH  was  left  to  the  initiative  of  the  communal  com- 
mittees, and  sometimes  this  brought  admirable  results.  In 
the  industrial  commune  of  Willebroeck  there  were  about 
1,400  unemployed  workmen  out  of  a  total  population  of 
12,000.  There  was  not  enough  work  for  all,  so  that  the 
number  of  working  days  during  which  a  man  had  a  right 
to  be  employed  varied  according  to  the  size  of  his  family. 
The  men  were  then  divided  into  shifts.  It  is  an  old  Belgian 
custom  for  groups  of  transient  laborers  to  march  about  the 
country  under  a  leader  who  acts  as  spokesman  for  the  men 
and  overseer  for  the  employer,  so  the  Willebroeck  shifts 
of  chomeurs  had  designated  leaders  who  put  them  to  work 
or  enrolled  the  men  on  the  register  of  the  unemployed  on 
days  when  the  shift  was  obliged  to  be  idle.  The  distribu- 
tion of  food  and  money  was  made  in  the  same  systematic 
manner.  Each  shift  presented  itself  with  its  leader ;  pack- 
ages of  food  were  prepared  in  advance ;  the  booklets  identi- 
fying the  applicants  and  the  amount  due  them  were  veri- 
fied ;  and  in  less  than  four  hours  there  was  delivered  to  the 
1,400  unemployed  all  the  assistance  in  kind  or  in  money 
to  which  they  were  entitled. 



BOTH  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium  and  the 
Provincial  Committees  were  large  employers  of  labor. 
A  fleet  of  more  than  three  hundred  lighters  and  their 
crews  were  engaged  in  the  transport  of  merchandise  from 
Rotterdam  into  Belgium.  Every  province  employed  hun- 
dreds of  dockers,  shippers,  warehousemen,  and  clerks.  In 
Antwerp  we  engaged  one  of  the  remarkable  groups  of 
freight  handlers  called  the  "  Antwerp  Nations  " :  organiza- 
tions which  date  from  the  earliest  commercial  prosperity  of 
the  metropolis,  which  work  co-operatively,  declaring  monthly 
dividends  and  poor  relief  benefits,  hold  in  common  their 
capital  of  horses,  carts,  and  houses,  obey  an  elected  dean 
and  sub-dean,  and  have  from  twenty  to  sixty  members 
each.  We  had  under  contract  in  the  province  ten  steam 
mills;  one  for  maize  belonging  to  the  National  Committee 
and  milled  for  the  whole  of  Belgium ;  one  working  on  wheat 
for  the  account  of  the  Provincial  Committee  of  Limbourg; 
one  for  the  Waesland,  and  seven  for  the  account  of  the  Pro- 
vincial Committee  of  Antwerp.  We  employed  clerks  and  ac- 
countants to  apportion  supplies  to  the  165  communes  in 
the  province,  and  flour  to  the  185  bakeries  in  the  city  of 
Antwerp.  We  engaged  private  detectives  to  smell  out 
frauds.  We  paid  thousands  of  women  and  girls  in  the 
clothing  workshops,  and  in  the  villages  we  paid  day  wages 
to  the  builders  of  temporary  houses. 

But  these  efforts  were  as  nothing  in  the  face  of  the  all 
but  universal  unemployment. 

Commerce  and  industry  were  practically  dead.  Of  the 
natural  resources  of  Belgium,  only  land  and  minerals  were 
available  for  an  industrial  revival.  But  agriculture  was 
dead  until  spring,  and  the  coal  mines  in  the  region  called 


the  Borinage,  which  hold  the  most  important  mineral  wealth 
of  Belgium,  were  already  opened  by  the  Germans  and 
worked  to  their  profit.  In  normal  years  Belgian  imports 
and  exports  of  coal  and  coke  practically  balance. 

Coal  from  the  Belgian  province  of  Hainaut  was  shipped 
in  railway  cars  and  canal  boats,  and  sold  through  a  Ger- 
man Kohlen-Zentrale  in  Brussels.  With  this  revival  of 
industry  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium  and  the 
National  Committee  had  nothing  to  do. 

Our  interest  in  Belgian  industry  was  based  solely  on  plans 
for  the  relief  of  the  unemployed.  A  good  case  was  that 
of  the  brick  industries  in  the  province  of  Antwerp.  These 
in  peace  time  employ  large  numbers  of  people,  and  as 
early  as  December,  1914,  the  Antwerp  Provincial  Com- 
mittee, the  city  of  Antwerp,  and  the  National  Bank  of  Bel- 
gium raised  300,000  francs — one-third  of  which  was  sub- 
scribed by  the  Provincial  Committee — to  subsidize  the  brick 
works  in  the  neighborhood  of  Boom,  Rumpst,  Terhaegen, 
Niel,  Schelle,  and  Hemixem,  where  a  working  population 
of  more  than  15,000  brick  workers  was  idle. 

The  money  was  advanced  to  the  communes,  which  in  their 
turn  made  advances  in  salary  checks  to  the  workers. 
Special  communal  storehouses  were  established,  where  work- 
men and  their  families  could  exchange  the  checks  for  food 
and  other  commodities.  Salaries  were  payable  up  to  eighty 
per  cent  in  these  checks,  and  food  was  furnished  at  reduced 
prices.  The  brick  factories  were  responsible  for  the  value 
of  the  checks,  and  were  under  obligations  to  repay  the  sums 
advanced  them,  three  months  after  the  conclusion  of  peace. 

The  case  of  the  brick  industry  was  relatively  simple. 
Bricks  can  easily  be  stored,  and  will  be  readily  marketable 
after  the  war  when  the  period  of  rebuilding  begins.  In  the 
case  of  other  important  industries  more  serious  problems 
presented  themselves,  and  one  by  one  they  were  found  prac- 
tically insurmountable. 


Lace,  however,  belongs  to  another  category.  It  is  one  of 
the  few  industrial  products  which  has  no  military  value, 
and  the  Belgian  lace  industry  employs  vast  numbers  of 
people.  Unfortunately,  it  has  been  brutally  exploited.  In 
peace  time  the  lace-makers  receive  practically  nothing  for 
their  work,  and  are  controlled  by  patrons  so  closely  or- 
ganized that  improvement  is  almost  impossible.  Both  men 
and  women  engage  in  lace-making.  Farm  laborers  who 
spend  the  summers  in  southern  Belgium  and  in  France, 
spend  the  winters  in  their  Flemish  homesteads,  and  occupy 
their  spare  time  with  the  making  of  lace.  Many  of  the 
convent  schools  are  lace  factories  under  another  name. 
And  the  summer  tourist  will  remember  having  seen  in  almost 
every  Belgian  village  he  visited,  lines  of  women  and  girls, 
sitting  in  the  streets  before  their  cottages,  with  a  handful 
of  little  bobbins,  spinning  white  spider  web  over  wooden 
pillows  laid  across  their  knees.  Such  villagers  are  the 
makers  of  the  famous  Mechlin  and  Valenciennes  laces. 

Immediate  relief,  not  social  reform,  was  all  that  the 
Commission  could  undertake.  On  the  first  enrollment, 
43,328  lace  workers  applied  for  assistance,  and  were  helped 
through  a  lace  committee  of  which  Mrs.  Brand  Whitlock 
was  honorary-president.  An  attempt  then  was  made  by 
the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium  to  sell  Belgian  laces 
in  America,  but  the  effort  was  not  a  success,  and  the  Com- 
mission abandoned  on  principle  attempts  to  vend  abroad  the 
products  of  Belgian  toil. 



Reprinted  from  the  Report  of  the  Commission  for  Relief 
in  Belgium,  June  30,  1915. 

NEGOTIATIONS  were  initiated  in  the  month  of  June  look- 
ing toward  the  drastic  control  of  the  1915  harvest  of 
breadstuffs.  The  total  harvest  of  such  materials  in  the 
"  Occupation "  zone  (all  Belgium  except  West  Flanders 
and  about  one-half  of  East  Flanders)  will  be  controlled 
by  a  Commission  comprising  Belgian  and  American 
representatives  from  the  Commission  for  Relief  and  the 
Comite  National,  together  with  representatives  of  the  Ger- 
man authorities.  It  has  been  determined  that  an  appro- 
priate proportion  of  each  peasant's  production  will  be  set 
aside  for  seed  and  food  for  his  family  through  the  year 
and  will  be  left  in  his  possession.  The  excess  will  be  taken 
over  at  fixed  prices  by  our  organization  and  distributed 
pari  passu  with  imported  material  over  the  entire  twelve 
months.  Drastic  penalties  have  been  enacted  against  any 
traffic  in  breadstuffs  except  by  the  Commission.  By  these 
means  speculation  will  be  prevented,  even  distribution  se- 
cured, and  the  destination  of  the  breadstuffs  to  the  civil 
population  will  be  assured.  The  amount  in  excess  of  the 
requirements  of  the  agriculturists — about  1,250,000  people 
— is  not  likely  to  be  very  great,  but  this  class  will  have  been 
placed  in  a  position  of  security  and  removed  from  the  care 
of  the  Commission  so  far  as  breadstuffs  are  concerned. 
The  actual  effect  on  wheat  imports  cannot  yet  be  de- 
termined, but  it  appears  that  owing  to  the  exhaustion  of 
other  reserves  a  continued  import  of  50,000  tons  per  month 
will  be  necessary  after  harvest.  The  great  staple  of  pota- 
toes promises  well  and  it  is  hoped  will  be  sufficient  to  carry 
through  next  year  without  imports. 



AGRICULTURE  had  been  a  constant  concern  of  the  Com- 
mission and  the  National  Committee  almost  from  the  be- 
ginnings of  the  work.  On  my  arrival  in  Antwerp  in  Decem- 
ber, 1914, 1  found  a  small  volunteer  organization,  called  the 
Agricultural  and  Horticultural  Committee,  under  the 
presidency  of  Mr.  W.  A.  van  der  Veen,  a  tall,  slender 
Dutchman  who  had  come  to  Antwerp  with  money  raised  in 
Holland  for  charitable  purposes,  and  who  intended  espe- 
cially to  help  the  farmers  of  the  country.  He  had  been  in 
the  Boer  War,  and  told  exciting  and  picturesque  stories  of 
his  adventures.  It  was  hard  to  believe  that  such  an  im- 
maculate, devout,  energetic  gentleman  once  was  elected 
colonel  of  a  band  of  Boers  because,  as  he  told  it,  "  he  was 
the  best  thief  in  the  lot."  His  wartime  foraging  had  given 
way  long  since  to  constructive  statesmanship,  and  he  knew 
exactly  how  to  deal  with  the  Belgian  Farmers'  Union, 
called  in  Flemish,  Boerenbond.  It  was  through  Mr.  van  der 
Veen's  committee  that  the  Agricultural  Section  of  the 
Provincial  Committee  was  developed  for  Antwerp. 

Belgium  uses  a  greater  weight  of  chemical  fertilizers  per 
square  mile  than  any  other  country  in  the  world.  Besides, 
peasant  children  on  hands  and  knees  scrape  up  dung  from 
the  roads  and  put  it  on  the  land.  The  Committee  organ- 
ized an  agricultural  co-operative  society  which  purchased 
supplies,  such  as  seed  and  fertilizers;  the  communes  as- 
sisted by  placing  waste  land  and  supplies  at  the  disposition 
of  farmers,  and  the  crop  was  his  who  grew  it.  In  several 
communes  men  were  encouraged  to  dig  up  vacant  lots, 
and  the  municipality  donated  seed  potatoes  and  manures. 

The  close-cropped  lawns  about  some  of  the  finest  castles 
in  Belgium  were  plowed  up,  and  potatoes  planted  where 


flowerbeds  had  been.  In  many  cases  choice  estates  were 
given  wholly  to  cultivation,  and  the  proprietors  saw  nothing 
but  potato  tops  whichever  way  they  looked. 

In  normal  times  18.79  Per  cent  °f  tne  population  is 
employed  in  agriculture,  and  of  these  42.82  per  cent  are 


Reprinted  from  the  Report  of  the  Commission  for  Relief 
of  Northern  France,  June  30,  1915. 

THE  inadequacy  of  local  production,  together  with  the 
destruction  resulting  from  military  operations,  brought 
about  a  shortage  of  food  supply  which  threatened  the 
population  with  famine  in  its  most  acute  form.  The  condi- 
tion of  the  people  was  much  akin  to  that  of  Belgium,  but 
instead  of  the  first  symptoms  of  famine  appearing  in 
November,  as  in  the  case  of  Belgium,  it  was,  even  in  the 
most  denuded  districts,  delayed  until  January,  and  the 
situation  did  not  become  universal  before  March.  .  .  . 
The  figures  indicate  a  shrinkage  of  about  one  million  from 
the  normal  population,  due  to  the  mobilization,  emigration, 
and  other  wastages  due  to  the  war.  Practically  the  whole 
of  the  male  population  eligible  for  military  service  has 
gone,  and  in  addition,  a  considerable  proportion  of  the 
elderly  men  of  commercial  experience  and  superior  char- 
acter were  drafted  into  other  sections  upon  the  advance 
of  the  German  army,  so  that  there  is  in  many  localities  a 
distinct  shortage  of  men  of  the  experience  and  character 
necessary  for  leadership.  The  difficulties  of  organization 
have,  therefore,  been  correspondingly  increased,  the  labor 


of  distribution  being  concentrated  upon  a  smaller  body  of 
available  men  than  in  Belgium.  One  concomitant  of  this 
situation  is  the  preponderance  of  helpless  women  and 


Reprinted  from  the  Report  of  the  Commission  for  Relief 
of  Northern  France,  June  30,  1915. 

THE  whole  of  the  foodstuffs  imported  are  sold  to  the 
District  Committees  at  prices  fixed  by  the  Commission. 
The  District  Committees,  in  turn,  sell  the  foodstuffs  to 
the  Communal  Committees  at  a  small  advance,  sufficient 
to  cover  the  local  cost  of  redistribution.  The  communes, 
in  turn,  re-sell  the  foodstuffs  without  profit  to  the  popula- 
tion. At  this  point  in  the  cycle  an  involved  transaction  is 
necessary  owing  to  the  absolute  disappearance  of  all  normal 
circulating  media  throughout  the  country,  and  in  order  to 
provide  for  the  destitute.  To  supply  the  deficiency  in  cur- 
rency each  commune  is  now  printing  its  own  notes  from 
2  centimes  up  to  50  francs.  This  currency  is  put  into  cir- 
culation by  the  communes  by: 

(a)  Payment  for  communal  services, 

(b)  Loans  to  individuals  against  property, 

(c)  Benevolence  to  the  destitute. 

Under  the  latter  two  classes  sufficient  advances  are  made 
to  enable  the  population  to  live.  The  Communal  Commit- 
tees in  turn  accept  this  local  currency  in  payment  for  the 
ration  of  foodstuffs  which  the  people  eat  daily.  Thus,  the 
Communal  Committees  become  possessed  of  local  com- 


munal  currency  representing  the  value  of  the  foodstuffs 
which  they  have  issued  to  the  population.  The  Committee, 
in  turn,  surrenders  these  notes  to  the  Communal  Authori- 
ties against  an  obligation  of  the  Commune  to  pay  an  equiva- 
lent sum  after  the  war  is  over,  and  these  obligations,  to- 
gether with  guarantees  by  the  individual  members  of  the 
District  Committees,  form  the  basis  upon  which  advances 
are  obtained  abroad.  In  order  to  facilitate  matters  of  ac- 
counting, the  foodstuffs  are  debited  by  the  Commission  to 
the  Comite  National  Beige,  who,  in  turn,  debit  them  to  the 
various  District  Committees  and  secure  the  necessary  obliga- 
tions in  return,  the  Comite  Beige  thus  having  the  responsi- 
bility of  detailed  accounting. 

As  stated  above,  the  Commission  fixes  the  prices  at  which 
foodstuffs  are  debited  to  the  District  Committees,  and  these 
prices  are  fixed  at  a  rate  somewhat  above  the  cost.  A 
margin  is  thus  secured  by  the  Commission,  which  is  devoted 
to  three  purposes  : — 

(a)  Indemnification  of  Local  Committees  in  cases  of  ac- 
cidental destruction  of  warehouses,  or  deterioration. 

(b)  Unforeseen  losses  in  transportation. 

(c)  Reserve  against  fluctuations  in  exchange  and  food 

If  any  portion  of  the  margin  remains  after  these  services 
it  will  be  ultimately  credited  to  the  communes,  as  the  Com- 
mission operates  absolutely  without  profit,  and  the  whole  of 
its  direction  is  carried  on  by  volunteers. 

In  the  matter  of  the  reserve  for  exchange  and  food  fluc- 
tuations ;  it  will  be  readily  appreciated  that  there  are  violent 
fluctuations  in  exchange  between  the  French  franc  and  the 
foreign  markets  in  which  the  foodstuffs  must  be  procured 
against  gold,  and  this,  together  with  the  fluctuations  in  the 
prices  of  foodstuffs  and  the  cost  of  transportation,  Would 
render  it  wholly  impossible  to  charge  these  foodstuffs  out 


to  the  District  Committees  at  actual  cost  from  day  to  day. 
It  was,  therefore,  determined  by  the  Commission  that  the 
whole  operation  could  be  greatly  simplified  by  adjusting 
prices  from  time  to  time  at  round  figures,  which  leave  a 
small  margin  to  cover  eventualities.  Despite  the  inacces- 
sibility of  the  area  and  the  enormous  difficulties  of  trans- 
portation and  distribution,  the  price  of  bread  has  been 
maintained  at  approximately  the  price  in  Paris. 


Reprinted  from  the  Report  of  the  Commission  for  Relief 
in  Belgium,  June  30,  1915. 

THE  joint  organizations  have  secured  advances,  from 
patriotic  Belgian  Banks  and  Institutions,  of  an  aggregate 
sum  of  $10,000,000  of  working  capital  for  the  Provisioning 
Department,  and  this  sum,  together  with  the  credits  which 
have  been  obtained  by  the  Commission,  would  be  sufficient 
to  revolve  the  Department  on  itself,  were  it  possible  to  effect 
exchange  of  the  receipts  from  food  sales.  In  fact,  aside 
from  the  working  capital,  the  whole  financial  problem  of 
the  Provisioning  Department  is  one  of  exchange,  and  this 
problem  is  surrounded  with  the  greatest  of  difficulties. 
These  difficulties  arise  from  the  fact  that  the  receipts  in 
Belgium  are  entirely  in  Belgian  paper  currency,  and  that 
this  currency  is  inconvertible  into  gold,  for  legal  and 
economic  reasons.  .  .  . 

While  the  work  of  the  Provisioning  Department  is  in  the 
nature  of  a  commercial  operation,  its  inception  and  ad- 
ministration constitute  a  humanitarian  effort  of  the  first 
order,  these  phases  being: — 


FIRST. — The  negotiations  which  have  opened  the  door 
through  the  belligerent  lines  by  which  foodstuffs  may  pass 
through  to  the  Belgian  people,  and  the  constant  negotiations 
necessary  to  maintain  this  opening,  the  import  and  distribu- 
tion being  surrounded  with  an  extensive  series  of  guarantees 
which  form  part  of  the  responsibilities  of  the  Commission. 

SECOND. — The  Department  is  restricted  in  its  operations 
by  the  belligerent  governments  as  to  the  character  and 
quantities  of  commodities  it  can  import  and  by  its  available 
resources,  and  it  is  therefore  necessary  to  insist  upon  a 
just  and  equitable  division  of  the  whole  of  the  imports  over 
the  entire  population,  and  in  this  phase  the  department  has 
up  to  date  succeeded  in  its  task  of  at  least  providing  a 
sufficiency  to  preserve  life  and  health  as  is  evidenced  by 
the  remarkably  healthy  condition  of  the  entire  population. 

THIRD. — The  footstuffs  are  sold  at  a  profit,  and  the 
profits  thus  earned  are  given  absolutely  to  the  Benevolent 
Department  for  the  support  of  the  destitute.  These  profits 
are  in  the  nature  of  a  tax  on  those  people  in  Belgium  who 
have  means,  for  the  benefit  of  the  destitute.  Such  profits 
have  been  made  possible  solely  by  the  generous  volunteer 
executive,  commercial,  and  transportation  services,  and  the 
amount  of  these  profits  is  practically  the  measure  of  the 
value  of  such  volunteer  service,  because  the  prices  fixed  for 
foodstuffs  in  Belgium  have  been  no  greater  than  retail  prices 
in  London.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that,  aside  from  the 
savings  in  cost,  owing  to  many  direct  concessions,  the  entire 
overhead  expenditure  of  the  Commission  as  shown  by 
the  annexed  accounts  amounts  to  considerably  less  than 
one  per  cent  of  the  value  of  foodstuffs  handled. 



Reprinted  from  the  first  Annual  Report  of  the  Commis 
sion  for  Relief  in  Belgium,  October, 

IT  was  .  .  .  agreed  in  February,  1915,  that  the  British 
and  French  Governments  would  advance  monthly  £500,000 
and  12,500,000  francs,  respectively,  to  the  Belgian  Govern- 
ment at  Le  Havre  for  the  service  of  the  Commission  for 
Relief  in  Belgium.  .  .  . 


THROUGHOUT  this  narrative  I  have  not  spared  the  per- 
sonal pronoun.  A  further  offence  against  delicacy  may 
be  permitted  me,  as  evidence  of  the  Belgian  exaggeration 
of  one  individual's  personal  importance  and  as  another  ex- 
ample of  their  feelings  toward  America  and  Americans. 

Translation  of  part  of  an  article  which  appeared  in  the 
Nieuwe  Rotterdamsche  Courant,  Rotterdam,  Holland,  on 
October  18,  1915. 

ANTWERP,  October  16. 

The  simple  official  demonstration  which  took  place  this 
morning  in  the  beautiful  Marriage  Hall  of  the  City  Hall 
had  a  specially  touching  significance.  The  Burgomaster 
and  Aldermen,  as  well  as  the  members  of  the  City  Council, 
stood  grouped  together  there,  in  order  to  say  a  few  solemn 
words  of  thanks  to  Mr.  Edward  Eyre  Hunt,  the  delegate  of 
the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium  to  the  National  Relief 
Committee  in  the  province  of  Antwerp.  Mr.  Hunt  is  leav- 


ing  for  the  United  States,  and  the  administration  of  our 
town  wished  to  celebrate  his  departure  in  a  suitable  way. 

Burgomaster  Jan  de  Vos  first  spoke,  to  express  how  much 
the  Belgian  people,  and  especially  the  Antwerpians,  in 
these  tragic  times,  have  to  thank  their  benefactors;  for 
Mr.  Hunt  has,  by  his  devotion  at  all  times,  carried  out  his 
beautiful  humane  task  in  an  exemplary  manner.  As  a  sign 
of  our  gratitude,  our  comfortable  old  City-Father  handed 
to  Mr.  Hunt,  in  the  name  of  the  city  of  Antwerp,  a  gold 
medal  of  honor  with  a  figure  of  our  King,  and  replicas 
thereof  in  silver  and  bronze.  The  medal  has  the  following 
inscription :  "  The  City  of  Antwerp  to  Mr.  Edward  Eyre 
Hunt,  i6th  October,  1915."  Our  municipal  Secretary, 
Hubert  Melis,  was  then  requested  by  the  Burgomaster  to 
read  an  address,  wherein  the  grateful  feelings  of  all  were 
recorded.  This  address  is  printed  on  Plantin's  press  by  the 
master-printers,  the  famous  firm  of  J.  E.  Buschmann.  It 
reads  literally  as  follows: 


Today,  October  i6th,  1915,  the  City  Council  of  Antwerp 
has  assembled  with  the  Burgomaster  and  Aldermen,  to  say 
farewell  to  Mr.  Edward  Eyre  Hunt  on  the  Occasion  of  his 
departure  from  this  City,  and  to  thank  him  for  the  devo- 
tion and  the  skill  shown  by  him  in  carrying  out  his  mission 
as  Delegate  of  the  Commission  for  Relief  in  Belgium  to  the 
National  Relief  Committee  in  the  province  of  Antwerp. 
The  gathering  thereby  requested  Mr.  Hunt  to  express  to 
his  chiefs,  and  especially  to  his  fellow-citizens  in  the  United 
States,  the  deeply  moved  feelings  of  gratitude  which  Bel- 
gium, sorely  tried,  but  so  wonderfully  upheld,  feels  for 
her  kind  and  noble  friends  across  the  sea. 

The  Burgomaster 

(Signed)  JAN  DE  Vos. 

Antwerp,  October  i6th,  1915 

By  order 

The  Secretary 

(Signed)  HUBERT  MELIS. 


Mr.  Hunt,  much  moved,  thanked  them  for  their  praise, 
and  assured  them  that  he  would  long  hold  in  warm  re- 
membrance his  stay  in  Antwerp. 

Significant  of  the  respect  and  reverence  in  which  Antwerp 
has  held  the  Americans  who  came  here  to  relieve  the  pre- 
vailing need,  so  far  as  was  in  their  power,  is  the  following 
fact  which  has  come  to  my  ears,  and  which  should  be 
made  known,  although  I  do  not  wish  thereby  in  any  way 
to  wound  the  modesty  of  our  worthy  fellow  townsman.  A 
great  Antwerp  business  man,  Mr.  Bunge,  immediately 
placed  his  palatial  house  at  Mr.  Hunt's  disposal,  while  Mr. 
Bunge  himself  went  to  his  country  estate  at  Hoogboom. 
The  liberality  of  the  Americans  here  found  a  counterpart  in 
Antwerp  hospitality. 

Word  for  word,  the  address  of  the  city  is  given  above. 
It  is  in  Dutch,  the  official  language  of  the  Flemish  city  of 
Antwerp.  When  the  municipal  Secretary  wished  to  repeat 
the  address  in  English  for  the  benefit  of  Mr.  Hunt,  to  the 
surprise  of  all  present  Mr.  Hunt  replied  that  he  had  under- 
stood the  address,  since,  during  the  year  he  had  lived  in 
Antwerp,  he  had  felt  bound  to  make  himself  familiar  with 
the  language  of  the  people. 

A  declaration  which  went  to  the  hearts  of  the  representa- 
tives of  the  Antwerpians,  and  which  the  whole  of  our  people 
will  know  how  to  appreciate  as  a  proof  of  respect  for  our 
national  character.  A  noble  American  citizen  here  gave  a 
fine  example  to  many  Belgians. 



D         Hunt,  Edward  Eyre 
638          War  bread